Who doesn’t like a good “cup of joe?”
A study by the National Coffee Association in 2020 found that 64% of Americans drink coffee.
That is a good sign for Katie and Victor Narvaez, owners of Goodworks Coffee House in Chicopee, where they serve up fresh fair trade coffee and pastries along with a friendly smile.
As for the 36% of those who don’t drink coffee, if you like tea there is something on the menu to quench your thirst as well.
Goodworks Coffee House was born out of Victor’s desire to leave his job as a social worker - Katie is a social worker as well - and open his own business which is something he always wanted to do.
“We were tossing ideas back and forth until Victor finally said, ‘What about a coffee shop?’ The funny thing is when we met at Westfield State University, Victor wasn’t a coffee drinker. I told him that he better learn to like coffee if we were going to begin to hang out together. So, I started his addiction and we would often visit a coffee shop in Westfield and sometimes travel to Northampton,” Katie said.
When it came time to put their dream in motion, the couple wanted to find a location in Chicopee where they reside.
“Chicopee is one of those up-and-coming places where a lot of good things are happening. We’ve always loved the downtown area and began our search there for a place to open our doors. While walking the streets in search of a home for our new business venture, we eventually came upon an open space on Center Street that was perfect for us. Our mission was to be that business where people would come to and shed more light on downtown Chicopee, and it is great to see that happening,” Katie said.
When it was finally time to open in January 2019, the Narvaezes had transformed an empty space into a welcoming, relaxing environment that is outfitted with comfy couches and pillows, alongside tables and chairs to sit and relax a spell with your libation and maybe even a sweet treat.
“People say it feels like home away from home at our shop. We have a lot of plants, artwork on the walls, and plenty of natural light to match a friendly atmosphere for anyone who walks through our door,” Katie said.
When putting their menu together, the Narvaezes knew one thing up front, they wanted to source as much local products as possible.
“We get our coffee beans from Monsoon Roastery in Springfield. Owner Tim Monson is like family and it is his beans, which we get delivered fresh weekly, that are so good and make our coffee stand out. You can really taste the difference in flavor, these are quality beans and my husband grinds them fresh daily,” Katie said.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing your good and tasty elixir. The beverage menu offers iced coffee, cold brew, drip coffee, latte/cappuccino, iced latte, Americano hot or iced, café olay, hot tea, iced tea, iced green tea with raspberry, iced coconut passion tea, cortado, turmeric latte, rishi matcha sweetened iced tea, and even hot and iced chocolate.
As for their pastries, Goodworks Coffee House serves up fresh-baked cookies on Thursdays from Hot Oven Cookies in Springfield, gluten-free and vegan pastries on Friday from Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen in Agawam, and during the rest of the week carries an assortment of yummy treats from Bernardino’s Bakery in Chicopee.
According to the I Need Coffee website, coffee houses have a long history dating back to 1511 in the Middle East. They began simply as a place to enjoy an exotic drink, coffee, but soon evolved into a place that helped change the course of history. Before coffee houses arrived in London, the normal social gathering place was a pub or tavern. The first attraction to coffee might have been its newness or the exhilaration from the caffeine, but quickly it became another reason to meet, and the coffee house was a place for socializing.
Coffeehouses in the United States gained prominence during the Beatnik era of the 1950s and were long associated with the 1960s folk music scene where you could go to hear up-and-coming performers.
“Before the pandemic we welcomed live performers on Thursday evenings and hope to resume that practice once we are fully open again. For now, as part of Chicopee’s Center Fresh farmers market, there will be a performing artist outdoors and we hope to have live music as well,” Katie said.
Like many businesses, the advent of the coronavirus pandemic last year forced the couple to come up with a “plan B” and quickly.
“It was stressful, but literally overnight when it was announced that the nation would be shutting down, we were able to create online ordering enabling us to offer ‘grab and go’ for our loyal customers,” Katie said.
“For a while we were actually busier because we saw new customers getting into their cars and driving to our shop from Hadley, Wilbraham, West Springfield and other places where their local coffee shop had closed. We have been very fortunate and are grateful for the support of the community during the pandemic,” she added, noting they are going to bring back indoor seating this summer.
With their background as social workers, it is the Narvaezes’ goal to be involved and make a difference in the community…..to be pillars of the community.
“We want to offer jobs to young adults and adolescents, internship opportunities, space for artists to show and sell their works, and offer a platform for performing artists,” Katie said.
The Narvaezes are the parents of three possible future coffee drinkers, Victoria, 8, Lucas, 6, and Levi, 3, who can often be found running around the family business.
“But you won’t find them with a cup of coffee in their hand, at least not just yet,” Katie said.
Goodworks Coffee House is located on 46 Center St. in Chicopee. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information, visit goodworkscoffee.square.site or call 413-331-3910
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