Closure of union at Pickford counter, Commune + Co. remaining in Tampa Bay


Joel Davis works his last shift for Union at Pickford’s Counter in Tampa, Fla. On May 25, 2021.Ray roa

Saturday marks the end of an important chapter in the Tampa Bay coffee scene. That’s when Joel Davis closes the door to Union, the cafe he opened at Tampa Armature Works in February 2018, then moved to Pickford’s Counter this spring.

Pickford’s, which reopened last summer with retailer David Hansen, as well as chefs Ben Pomales and Adrianna Siller at the helm, will continue to operate the coffee program developed by Davis, who in 2014 was the first person to offer. products stirred under pressure, nitro-pushed. cold brew in Tampa Bay.

“All the equipment, the horchata lattes, some of the staff all stick around to help Pickford run what we’ve built here,” Davis told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

Davis added that his Commune + Co. The pressure brew operation – which also kegs Tampa’s best coffee cola – will continue to operate in Seminole Heights with longtime brewer Kenny Cates at the helm. The commune will also continue to appear at events in the Bay Area.

Get Along, the donut company Davis co-founded with Asher Lakes and Marie Cullinan will continue to operate from its Seminole Heights space and is still on track to open its cafe. Donuts will also still be featured at Pickford’s as well as its own Get Along pop-ups in Tampa Bay.

Davis, who personally changes addresses and moves to Utah this summer, told CL the decision to shut down Union is purely business-based based on the margins associated with a multi-roaster coffee operation paying its employees a living wage. and buying coffee from vendors who actually process the coffee. producers love people who deserve to be able to feed their families.

“It kept me awake for seven months,” Davis explained, adding that he pays between $ 11 and $ 14 a pound for the coffee Union serves. “Buying the type of coffee we make and selling it to customers at the price we make is an unsustainable model when you don’t have an exclusive kitchen to help offset the coffee margins. “

Davis’s decision places the coffee program at Pickford’s in the hands of Hansen – who previously ran a café in his Seminole Heights Urban Bungalow space – and two of Tampa Bay’s most brilliant culinary figures in Chefs Pomales and Siller.

“Since joining us in the big pink building, Union has been instrumental in helping Pickford’s Counter become what it is today and helping us change for the better,” Pickford wrote on Instagram . “Thank you @iamthejoel for being a true trailblazer and shining example of what it is like to be a genuine, caring leader, business owner and friend.”

Hansen, also a supporter of paying his employees a living wage, told CL the Union move to Pickford will be a smooth one and people who show up this Sunday will see the same products.

Tuesday morning at Pickford’s, with friends walking in and out to say goodbye to Davis on his last shift, you get the feeling that while Union is about to come out, Davis’ spirit would still permeate. the building and especially throughout the community where it has been caffine since 2014.

“I’ll be in and out of Tampa,” Davis said. “Get Along is on the right track, Commune + Co. is still here, and my family is here.

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