Sometime last year, I attended a networking event that was held at the surprisingly cool, new coffee shop in La Mirada. The rumor was that two young guys had just started it, that they hand made all the furniture and that they were officially the amazing coffee shop of the area. I was, of course, interested in hearing the story behind it, so I contacted the founders, Noah Cho and Peter Shin.
Here's what I learned about the story behind ARK Coffee:
Who was involved in starting ARK Coffee and what sparked the idea?
ARK Coffee was originally a coffee cart idea. Noah had an idea to bring specialty coffee into outdoor events and shopping centers and wanted to build a fancy looking cart. He then approached Peter for help in building it. Things started rolling, and it became bigger than expected.
How did you choose the location?
We both grew up in OC. Peter is from Cerritos area and I’m from Fullerton. We were location scouting and just happen to drive by our current space with a big “for lease” sign. After seeing the inside, fell in love with it and knew in an instance that this was the place.
Which parts of the process did you love, and which parts did you dread?
Many brick and mortar entrepreneurs may agree with me, but the development stage and putting the shop together was the most fun. It was awesome seeing ARK being built little by little. Once the doors opened, business was slow because not that many people knew about us. This was the part we dreaded… coming to our shop every morning working 16 hours and doing it all over again the next day.
Did you have any fears from yourself or other people for starting such a massive undertaking so young?
We had A LOT of people tell us to reconsider and asked us if we really wanted to open a business, to which, our answer remained firm. In the beginning we were more excited and motivated by other’s concerns because we wanted to prove them wrong.
How would you describe the vibe at ARK?
The vision behind ARK is to be a place that brings people together, hence our mantra being “More Than Just Coffee.” We’ve had multiple people come up to us and tell us that they’ve met such wonderful people while working out of ARK; ARK stands to provide great coffee and to use that as a medium to help people with similar interests in the community connect with each other. It’s really more than just coffee.