A short drive from UNC Charlotte, concealed within the innocuous, brick exterior of Cochran Commons shopping center, lies Cafeccino. A step into the café reveals the charming chaos which so accurately resembles the philosophy of the coffee shop.
Wood detailing and gallery lights hang from the exposed ceiling and novelty-filled bookcases line the walls. Students inhabit the clusters of leather armchairs that are littered throughout the room. A scribble covered “Community Guitar” lays against the fireplace, with instructions to play, sign and return.
This homey business began with an idea and a group of students in the Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) library coffee shop. Soon after the initial University location opened in 2014, Cafeccino opened a second store in The Foundry of Uptown Charlotte.
Much like the eclectic interior, the café holds a diverse menu. The shop features drink options ranging from espresso creations, like the “Toasted Marshmallow Latte,” to local craft beer and wine. There is also an array of breakfast favorites and lunch sandwiches including a variation of the old classic called the “Fancy Grilled Cheese.”
“They have really excellent food,” says two-year loyal customer David Guffey. “It’s all very well done, I’ve always been impressed.”
But Cafeccino offers more than just refreshments and a cozy hangout spot to its customers. Co-founder Phillip Tran describes his approach to managing as that of a teacher rather than a business owner. Fittingly, the coffee shop pays tribute to its academic roots by offering employee-run tutoring and latte art classes.
“This is not like a conventional coffee shop,” says three-year employee Idriss Guindo. “We do much more. Cafeccino is about experience.”
With two locations in the Charlotte area, and a third recently opened in Raleigh, Cafeccino has come a long way since it began as a simple idea. Regardless, Cafeccino employees strive to preserve the essence of the business through loyalty to their Charlotte customers. Tran hopes to open two more locations in the near future.
“This is a grand experiment,” says Tran. “It has a lot of hard times, as well as some good times.”