Located on Northgate directly across from Blocker is Carport Coffee, a locally owned and independent coffee shop. The business opened in 2019 and is operated by co-owners Griffin Foley and Chris Klein.
Since its opening, Carport has been successful with students and locals. Foley said the business’s mission is a simple concept.
“We kept the concept as ‘convenient, quick and quality,’ and we’ve been going ever since,” Foley said.
The building itself was originally a gas station, and Foley said remodeling it to fit a coffee bar and tables was an undertaking.
“We came in here, and there was a load-bearing wall running through the center that we took out; it wasn’t [really] conducive to a coffee shop,” Foley said. “[We] opened the space up because it was an old filling station, an old gas station, as late as the 80s.”
Foley and Klein attended the University of Missouri together and always knew they wanted to start a business, Foley said. The timing of their shop’s opening lined up perfectly with their friend Matthew Toomey, who was starting his own coffee bean roasting operation.
Foley said Toomey is a skilled roaster and has been great to work with as a supplier.
“He is very skilled, and he is the reason that the coffee tastes great,” Foley said. “It’s been a perfect storm, we all came together right around the same time. It’s a personal touch and a great flavor. He does a very good job of keeping a variety of beans coming through here.”
Carport was only open for a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Despite this immense challenge, Foley said the shop remained successful and expanded their customer base to many Bryan-College Station locals.
“It seemed like [the pandemic] transcended the life of a business,” Foley said. “Whether you were an old business or a new business, it really affected everyone, … but it provided a unique opportunity to expand our customer base to some of the locals.”
Marketing sophomore and barista Grace Taylor said she finds the social atmosphere at Carport wonderful. The staff and customers are the highlight of Carport, Taylor said.
“My favorite part about working here is all the jokes behind the counter and how fun all the baristas are,” Taylor said. “Getting to talk to all our customers and have good conversations, getting to know everyone’s name, all our regulars, and we get to know the people around College Station pretty well.”
One regular customer, history senior Olivia Bradley, said her favorite part of Carport is its overall energy.
“I love the baked goods and how nice their baristas are, as well as the sense of community that comes with Carport,” Bradley said. “The overall atmosphere is one of warmth and belonging.”
In addition to serving delicious caffeine, Foley said Carport hopes to provide support for local artists and musicians. Foley said the opportunity to showcase artists came from their student staff.
“Two of our baristas are both involved with the [A&M] artists, and we love it. As a result, we’ve had some really unique artistic expressions go on here,” Foley said. “There’s a band that plays here every now and then on Friday nights, [and] we really like it. One of the first months here, [two baristas] asked if they could put up a flyer for a show they were doing at the Village [Cafe]. From there, we’ve had this homogenous relationship with [A&M] artists.”
Foley said one of the most important parts of owning a local business is supporting others in the community, even competing coffee shops. He said he believes when one local business does well, it also helps others.
“There are other coffee options both in College Station and in Northgate that are so great,” Foley said. “We are closed on Sundays, and I make it a point to go to other shops that I really like. It’s sort of like the ‘high tide raises all ships’ mentality. If we can educate everyone on great coffee and what it should taste like, there’s enough business to go around to everyone.”