Get to know...Alan Swan of Vintage Coffee
We love the courage and grit displayed by small business owners who are following their passions. Alan & Carie Swan opened Vintage Coffee in 2007 with a focus on quality and service. We asked Alan to tell us a little bit about himself and about what it's like to own & operate Vintage Coffee:
Name: Alan Swan
Business: Vintage Coffee
Title: Owner/Head Dishwasher
How would you describe Vintage Coffee to someone who hasn't had the chance to visit yet?
We are the home of tasty coffee & tea drinks made with only natural & fresh ingredients. We're located on the first floor of the historic Iglesia Building at NW 49th & Western Avenue in Oklahoma City. In addition to custom made drinks, we offer sweet & savory snacks from local businesses. Our atmosphere is relaxed inside and speedy and friendly at the drive-thru.
Tell us about opening Vintage Coffee.
We opened in 2007 about 9 miles north of our present location. In 2013, we moved to NW 49th to be more centrally located near other local businesses. After 25 years in the food service industry we had learned enough about what to do and what not to do, so we figured it was time to create something new and unique that focused on quality and service.
What do you love about operating a small business in Oklahoma?
1. Love to see our regulars every day.
2. Love to exceed people's expectations with how good local businesses are in Oklahoma!
What challenges or risks have you faced operating a local business?
So, so, so many...most of it has just been a learning process around how to run a business. But a good portion has been trying to show new customers every day that national chains are nowhere near as good as we are.
What advice would you give to someone who dreams of starting their own business someday?
Make sure you really like what you want to do, because often profit, fulfillment, and growth are harder to get than you can imagine.
What are the most popular items that you sell? What are your favorite items?
Our world famous Cold Brew with real Dulce de Leche or Sweet Condensed Milk (aka "ThunDah"). The Cancun Latte with homemade Mocha and Fresh Cinnamon & Cayenne Pepper from Savory Spice Shop. Our Fresh Spice Chai Tea Latte made with spices from Savory Spice Shop.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
All the espresso I can drink - Every. Day.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Keeping up a good energy level and attitude after 30 years in the industy. Fortunately, we have a great team of people who are far younger than me.
Who do you admire in your line of work? Do you have any professional heroes?
The entire team from Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I've never been there, but their books inspire me.
Do you have any favorite moments or milestones since opening your business?
We see many Oklahoma celebrities on a regular day (but we won't tell you who, so they can relax and enjoy their coffee). We also get so many amazing reviews online and words of encouragement in person. Honestly, it's not us - we just have really great customers!
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about your business?
Instead of using prepackaged syrups with questionable ingredients, we make every drink with fresh, natural flavors and sweeteners, customized to your specific taste.
What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
We want to have a lasting impact on the coffee scene, both locally and nationally. We think a neighborhood coffee shop has a lot to offer it's community, but very few achieve the reach that we believe we are capable of.
In your opinion, why is it important for people to support locally-owned businesses?
We have seen time and time again how national chains are bad for communities and individuals. They simply don't care about anything but profit. We would rather do business with people we trust, whose names we know and whose lives we can be a real part of.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Race Car Driver and Fighter Plane Pilot - so, pretty much the same as making coffee. lol.
What was your first job?
Dishwasher at a local restaurant.
What do you like to do in your free time?
What is "free" time?
Spend time with my family or binge watch a streaming series while I do paperwork.
Is there anything that you'd like people to know about you or your business that we haven't covered yet? Tell us about it.
We have a number of ideas to grow and improve into other things, the only constant in life is change. We want to keep changing for the better!
The original Vintage Coffee location was near the corner of NW 150th St. & N. Western Ave. in Edmond. Now you can find them at 1101 NW 49th Street in Oklahoma City. Vintage Coffee is a proud member of Keep It Local OK. Use your Keep It Local Card any day before noon to receive 10% off your purchase -or- get a 1/2 price pastry with the purcahse of any drink after noon. vintagecoffeeok.com