Saturday, March 30, 2013

Overflow Coffee Bar Celebrates two years in the South Loop

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since Overflow Coffee Bar , 1550 S. State St., opened. They’ve become a neighborhood staple, serving as an ambassador for all things relating to the South Loop. We caught up with husband and wife owners, Brandon and Amanda Neely to get their take on the last two years. Below is our interview.

South Loop Connection: What does it feel like being in business for two years?
Overflow Coffee Bar: Honestly, a mix of good feelings and not-so-good feelings.  In some ways, we feel pride and encouragement.  In other ways, we feel exhausted and discouraged.  Most of the time the good feelings outweigh the not-so-good ones and that keeps us going but we aren’t all rainbows and sunshine either.

Overflow's grand opening ribbon cutting two years ago
SLC: We all know you sell coffee, but are there items on the menu now that weren’t available when you opened two years ago?
OCB: We’ve always sold more than just coffee – sandwiches, pastries, salads, tea, hot cocoa, and the like. We added soups and Naked Juice this winter.  In August of 2012 we also became a fair trade store – selling fair trade products through Ten Thousand Villages.

SLC: What is Overflow’s most popular coffee drink? Food item?
OCB: Our most popular drink is our specialty – the Overflow – a coconut milk hazelnut mocha with the option of adding cayenne pepper.  Food wise it is more of a toss up.  As you might guess, we sell quite a few croissants and bagels.

SLC: What do you enjoy most about being small business owners?
OCB: We really enjoy working together.  Since we got married, we’ve always done small things together, like cooking dinner.  It’s nice to work as a team.  We both bring different expertise to the partnership.  We could never have accomplished what we have without each other’s complimentary attributes.

SLC: Do you have any big or unusual goals as you begin your third year in business?
Amanda and Brandon Neely take a break
from business paperwork
OCB: Malcolm Gladwell posits that it takes 10 years of working really hard at something to become highly successful at it.  We’re not even close to that mark but we continue to work toward sucking less every day.  Besides that, there are always a few “big or unusual” things we’re working on but have no idea when the opportunity to accomplish them will come at hand.

SLC: What are you most proud of at Overflow?
OCB: That we’ve survived.  Seriously, many businesses fail within the first couple years so we’re happy to still be standing.  We’re proud of our loyal customers for supporting the mission to change the world one cup at a time.  We wouldn’t have survived without you!

South Loop Connection has covered the Overflow Coffee Bar before the Neely’s even knew where in the South Loop their store would be located. For a look back on how far they’ve come, click here.

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