Every coffee shop is different, and no one knows that better than you—the coffee shop owners who build a unique story and brand with every cup. Welcome to our second edition of Breaking New Grounds.
Coffee shops never go undiscovered for long in New York City. Even so, the urbane coffee and juice bar Project Cozy has seen remarkable success since its inception in July. Created by Jack Liang, Simon Ho, Nathan Leong and Kitty Tsang, Project Cozy is branded as a hub for creatives and entrepreneurs, the goal of which is to create a “lifestyle experience.” As such, it’s fitting that the idea was conceived not on paper but through a day-to-day experience. After cofounder Jack Liang’s first business, The PokéSpot, opened a new franchise location in SoHo in April, he and business partner Simon Ho found themselves frequenting the area where Project Cozy would later be established. “Every day, we always wanted coffee,” says Jack (of their time spent developing The PokéSpot’s new SoHo location.) “We would always have to walk to various places in the area. One day, we saw that this space was available.” Previously a consignment store, Project Cozy is located in the epicenter of Nolita’s restaurant scene.
Jack and Simon had other reasons for choosing this location. “You know, I grew up in this area, and I’m familiar with this area,” says Jack. The location is also home to the ideal consumer base for their vision. “There’s an audience of creatives in the area. It’s all about ‘coffee and laptops,’ the culture and the atmosphere.”
As per the cofounders’ vision, Project Cozy’s concept hybridizes street culture with a refined coffee and juice bar. The fresh-made juices are named after hip hop songs, amidst a menu of innovative drinks like a charcoal latte and a lychee matcha tea. It’s apropos to their branding that their signature flavor seems to be mint (fresh, clean, and cool)—their signature coffee is the Cozy Mint Coffee, and Bibble & Sip’s mint cream puffs and macarons are also exclusively available at/created in partnership with Project Cozy.
Beyond the menu, the vast space is conducive to meetings and collaboration—everything from the baristas to the decor is intended to target all kinds of professionals, creatives, artists and designers. The walls bear pieces like a Somehoodlum print and a neon sign reading “Cozy As Fck.” Even the bathroom walls are painted by commissioned local graffiti artists. A merchandise shelf features Yeezys, which they occasionally raffle off. The shoes were provided by Jack and Simon’s friends, again showing how Project Cozy functions as a center of collaboration.
Project Cozy aims to set itself apart from other cafes via its trend-conscious branding and its cultivation of a unique lifestyle experience. Like the name says, it’s certainly a cozy hangout, but it’s also, significantly, the cofounders’ project. “Everyone in here is talking or thinking about something new,” Jack says, looking around the room. There is always a new idea being developed or pitched at any given time. Not too long ago, that “something new” was once Project Cozy.
Want to share your coffee shop’s story? Reach out to the CUPS team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images via Yelp, Facebook; all image credit to the business owners.