Coffee shops have always been a place to sit, meet, read and gather, but Next Door Cafe, a new collaboration between Doejo (Kickstand, Dollop) and State Farm hopes to take things to a new level. The cafe, which officially opens on Thursday, will have the requisite Intelligentsia coffee, sandwiches and salads from Southport Grocery, breads from Red Hen and pastries from Hoosier Mama.
But where they're going in a different direction is how the space will be used. State Farm has been working on the concept for upwards of two years and wants it to be a localized spot where people can hold meetings, learn about events happening in the surrounding community, attend on-site seminars and speak with life and financial planning coaches—all for free. Customers can get free advice and learn about how to set themselves up for their future, whether that's to buy a house, get a car or learn how to curb your shopping habit.
It may sound like a hook to buy insurance, but program director Brett Myers says it's not about the sales, rather building a community. Essentially, it's more of a regular coffeeshop with some added amenities, like free Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and even meeting "closets" with white boards and flat screen displays. The rest of the space has bright colors, a high exposed-beam ceiling, tables and bookshelves crafted from reclaimed wood from a South Side factory, area rugs, leather and fabric couches, counter seating and a glass facade that completely opens on to Diversey Avenue.
The cafe will be open daily between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., while coaching services will take place between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends.