Coffee shops and flower shops are enjoying symbiotic relationships in San Diego.
  • Coffee shops and flower shops are enjoying symbiotic relationships in San Diego.
  • Image by Meagan Floris
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Its large, painted outside wall says Coffee + Flowers, but inside the storefront on the southwest corner of Texas and University there are actually two distinct businesses: Communal Coffee and Native Poppy flower shop. "In the beginning we thought we would have a little more separation," says Communal owner Jen Byard, who also produces local craft community events Makers Arcade and Urban Craft Camp.

Communal Coffee

2335 University Avenue, North Park

Byard initially had been working with several businesses — including a flower shop — to develop a larger shared vendor space akin to the one built around James Coffee in Little Italy. When that larger property fell through, she was invited to take over a corner unit held by North Park's Mooch landscape design business. She reached out to Native Poppy owner Natalie Gill, and the two devised a way to coexist within the same space.

The two shops share a long countertop with a unified design concept: flowers to the right, coffee to the left, with seating throughout. "I really wanted it to feel like the living room you wish you had," Byard says. "Comfortable, welcoming, not stiff and sterile." Behind the shop they share a courtyard garden with Mooch, and customers flow in and out and between them with ease.

They opened for business Mother's Day weekend, a weekend flowers are in particularly high demand. It turned out to be a strong one for coffee too.

"The first day we ran out of coffee," laughs Byard. "We thought we ordered a week's worth of coffee, based on what a typical shop opens with," she continues, "Lesson learned — now I have lots of extra coffee."

Communal serves coffee by San Francisco roaster Sightglass Coffee, the first shop to do so south of Los Angeles. It also serves baked goods and simple dishes like their already-popular avocado toast. On the flower side of the counter, Native Poppy offers floral arrangements and gifts, including same day deliveries using Courier Collective bicycle couriers.

The Coffee Method

4993 Niagara Avenue, Ocean Beach

Communal and Native Poppy isn't the city's first pairing of coffee and flower shops. In Ocean Beach, The Coffee Method is going on three years in business subletting space from longtime OB florist Floral Fantasia. Coffee Method serves coffee roasted by Sorrento Valley's Zumbar Coffee & Tea, and in this instance the flower shop is on the left side of the shop.

Coffee Method owner Robert Stewart hadn't intended to open his coffee shop alongside a florist, but says it's proven a good match, with customers of one business becoming customers of the other. He also points out sensory benefits. "It actually makes [the coffee shop] better because there's something pretty to look at every day," he says, adding, "It smells good too. Coffee and flowers smell great together."

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dwbat June 4, 2016 @ 9:09 p.m.

This mellow concept shows that many people are tired of the Starbucks coffee experience.


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