This week’s vendor spotlight features 10 Questions with Joel Davis, owner of Union by Commune + Co. Established in 2018 at Armature Works, Union by Commune + Co. is a coffee, tea, beer and wine bar located in the center of The Heights Public Market. Joel and his crew have been keeping the HPM caffeinated since our inception and have been a Tampa Bay staple since 2013 via his brand Commune + Co. Check out 10 Questions with Union and be sure to give them a follow below!
1. Where are you from originally?
Union: Huntington Beach, Ca
2. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the restaurant business?
Union: People. I love people and the space and opportunity that food and beverage provide to bring us together.
3. Can you tell us more about your concept?
Union: We are a “multi-roaster” shop. This means we don’t roast our own coffee, rather, we partner with roasters from around the country who feel are the best for us, our customers, and the sustainability of coffee long term. Coffee has come a long way in the last decade, the industry calls it the “3rd wave.” This wave has brought with it young, conscious consumers and business owners that care not just about the quality of product, but also the lives and stories attached to the coffee throughout the supply chain—all of the way back to the farmer.
We use our buying power to work with top tier roasters around the world who’s philosophy aligns with ours—uncompromising quality AND care for the sustainability of the coffee supply chain ensuring farmers and communities at the producer level can care for their folks and grow in partnership with consumers here in Tampa. This concept also allows our customers to try coffee from around the world, from the best roasters in the country, that they would otherwise likely never be able to try.
4. What three words would you use to describe your brand?
Union: Intentional. Kind. Shared.
5. What are your three favorite menu items?
Union: SOE (single origin espresso), Pressure Brew, Coffee Cola.
6. What is your favorite menu item that no one knows about?
Union: Natural Wine. We serve a very limited, but tightly curated selection of natural wines made the traditional way—no chemicals in processing, only natural occurring/indigenous yeasts, and very minimal intervention. They are clean, beautiful wines that I really really love.
7. How do you see your business growing?
Union: As we grow I hope to expand our ability to create community locally and regionally for our customers, but also for coffee professionals and coffee culture. I really hope to highlight the stories and lives connected to coffee producing and help our industry move into more sustainable and intentional practices.
8. Why do you like having your restaurant at Armature Works?
Union: From the day I launched Commune + Co. in 2013, it has always been collaborative in nature and in shared spaces with other folks and businesses—because I believe that the best in life are shared. When I was approached with the opportunity to open a brick and mortar location in Armature Works it was the best case scenario and truly a grown-up version of what we had been doing already for several years, now permanently sharing a communal space with other restaurants and folks who care about quality and community.
9. What advice would you give someone who would like to open their own restaurant?
Union: Count the cost and ask yourself, “Why?” If you don’t have a good “why” the cost will always be too high.
10. Any messages to the community or anything else that you would like to add?
Union: I love you. WE love and appreciate you, Tampa. I take a lot of solace from knowing that, while we are in scary and uncharted territory, we are in it together. Wash your hands. Stay distanced. Consider the vulnerable. Look out for each other and we will be okay.
Follow Union on Facebook here.
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Follow Union’s website here.