Today we’d like to introduce you to Aimee Frederick.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Aimee. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Natives of South Louisiana, my husband and I met while working for a popular restaurant concept in Baton Rouge. We were given the opportunity to grow the brand and open our own location in Sugar Land in 2007. In the years following our move to Fort Bend, we got married, started a family, and began exploring the Western US in our free time. Through our travels, we developed a love for cafe culture and craft coffee – something we couldn’t quite find living in the Houston suburbs. We waited years for someone to open a shop like we had found in every town, large and small, along the West Coast. But, as it turns out, we got tired of waiting. We started developing our own cafe concept in the fall of 2015, and by March 2017, in a nondescript building, along Historic Richmond’s main drag, Blockhouse Coffee & Kitchen opened its doors.
Has it been a smooth road?
Was starting this business a smooth road? Not at all. But the obstacles only toughen our skin and add richness to our story: there is no victory without defeat.
Our first vision of Blockhouse, which was to include a chef-led kitchen and on-site coffee roastery, involved project costs spiraling to reckless heights, and after hitting wall after wall, we reluctantly scrapped version 1.0. Looking back, there was a pivotal moment when we had to decide if moving forward, in any capacity, was what we really wanted. It was very much, “now or nothing.” We ultimately decided we had come too far not to make something happen, so we pared down our plans to the most basic version of a cafe we could imagine, and got to work. Four months later, we opened a cafe.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
First and foremost, Blockhouse is a specialty coffee house. We source our coffee beans from the region’s highest quality roasters, rotating them quarterly, allowing us to feature up to 8 different roasters throughout a given year. Like many specialty shops, we make our flavored syrups from scratch, and serve various house-made baked goods and artisanal items. And, we hire friendly, knowledgeable baristas, eager to educate our customers about specialty coffee, and help them select a drink they will love.
Second, Blockhouse is more than a coffee shop. We are a community of craftsmen. Like we state clearly on our website, “…our vision is to be a platform for local craftsmen and an advocate for connection in [our] community.” What does this mean? This means we seek out and curate goods from our region’s best producers and artisans. You can find these products on our store shelves, our menu, and as vendors at special events throughout the year. We collaborate with local artists to create original art for our chalk wall and display their work in the shop. It also means we care deeply about human connection. We have designed our space so people sit with each other (rather than alone, at a table meant for four) which encourages eye contact and conversation. And you know what? It works. And it thrills us to pieces to watch it happen!
And third, Blockhouse is designed for families. We pride ourselves on being comfortable, cozy, and kid friendly. Our furniture was made by hand by our friend, Zach Lambert, and is one of the first things people notice when they walk in the shop. We’ve set aside space inside our tiny cafe for children, complete with a chalkboard, blocks, books and colored pencils. We have a front patio for soaking up the sun when the weather’s nice, and a huge, shady backyard, for when the little ones (or the big ones) need to stretch their legs.
We are proud of all of these components of our shop, the coffee, the community and the space itself, and feel all three set us apart from some of the better-known competition.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We are in a very specific part of Richmond. We are in Historic Richmond, one of Texas’ oldest settlements, dating back to the mid-1800’s. We’re kind of partial to the rich history, the old growth oak trees, the street grid, the original structures and homes, and all the perks that come along with being nestled within a historic district. But the funny thing is, most of our customers don’t even know what treasures surround them. We have tasked ourselves with helping educate our consumers about all Historic Richmond offers. And we hope to see the area become even more a destination for those seeking a peek into the Texas past.
In addition to being located within Richmond’s historic district, our property comprises the entire half a block at the corner of Jackson and 7th streets, which we’ve named Jax & 7th. Permanent home to Blockhouse, The Kombucha Company, and the coming-soon event venue, The Guild, Jax & 7th also boasts a huge backyard where we host events like private parties, public markets, yoga, farmstands and food trucks like Renegade Kitchen & Catering and Southern Select Boiled Crawfish. Think of Jax & 7th as a destination all its own!
- Address: 611 Jackson Street
Richmond, TX 77469
- Website: www.blockhousecoffee.co
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: blockhouse_coffee
- Facebook: facebook.com/blockhousecoffeeandkitchen