A new coffee spot at the corner of Main and Stadium hosts a grand opening amid COVID-19 pandemic.
As many businesses pivot their strategies — or worse — consider shuttering during COVID-19, Drip House at the corner of Main Street and Stadium threw open its doors for a grand opening in mid-July. “I think ordinarily opening a shop in a pandemic would be a big issue, but we’re in a really unique situation having so much exposure, with a neighborhood that supports us and a lot of commuters passing by, and also our premium coffee offerings,” said owner Russ Furrha. The original plan was to open the shop in February, after acquiring it last November. Then the pandemic hit and contractors were unable to continue renovations. And without an open shop, the newly hired staff was unable to start.
Yet the months of downtime have proven beneficial. Furrha says it gave Drip House time to hone its identity and focus on how to deliver and execute its mission. With other local coffee shops closing and shifting strategies, Drip House was able to hire their experienced baristas.
“We had more than 500 applications, it’s crazy how everything fell into place,” said Furrha. “We have a great staff and we’re really excited and preparing for when the students come back.” The location holds special meaning for Furrha who attended both Pioneer High School and the University of Michigan, and also played football for U-M. “The location for me is symbolic,” said Furrha. “When I saw it, I just figured this could be right.” Drip House’s name is inspired by its single origin drip coffee, with a nod to the “Big House” across the street.
Furrha says his purpose and mission is to create a vibrant and non-judgemental environment that serves as a social gathering spot for family and friends. A Detroit-based interior design firm, Parini, helped bring Furrha’s vision to life with a bright and airy space. Positive affirmations and encouragement pepper the shop, website, and social media channels.
“We want to be the coffee shop that reminds people of how good they are every morning when they stop and get a cup of coffee, and see our messaging on their cup and on our t-shirts,” said Furrha. “I think people really need that today, especially in this age of anxiety and depression. We’re at the epicenter of Ann Arbor, across from a high school with 2,000 kids and a college with 40,000 students and so many of those students struggle with those issues, which I know I did as a student-athlete.”
Drip House offers premium, single-origin coffee from Guatemala and neighboring countries from a Detroit-based distributor that delivers fresh coffee to the store every day. The locally-sourced food menu includes French pastries, crepes, toasts (with lox, avocado, or salmon), and smoothies. “I think our assortment of menu items differentiates us,” said Furrha. “We’re really proud of the coffee that we offer, our matcha drinks, and peaflower lattes. Those are certainly items that set us apart.”
Soon, Drip House will also offer an outdoor patio space. Sourcing supplies and materials has proven challenging during the pandemic. “Everything is delayed, we’re getting things piece by piece because of COVID,” said Furrha. “Supplies are scarce and manufacturers aren’t making things, so it takes forever to get something.” Stay tuned for a new teak deck and outdoor seating in the coming weeks.
Furrha says the feedback from the neighborhood and patrons has been encouraging.“I’ve been to Drip House twice and the ambiance and design are great, very clean and cozy,” said neighborhood resident Wendy Valtadoros.”I think it will be lovely to have a neighborhood coffee shop.” Furrja adds, “I was reading our reviews and people are saying they’ve never been this excited for a coffee shop and, after putting this together for a year and a half, that feedback really makes me happy. It makes all the hard work we’ve put in worth it.”
1336 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. 734-800-4135. driphousecoffee.com.