Collaboration, community, connection, camaraderie and cooperation. These are few of the words that inspired the founding of Coco & the Director. They also lend themselves to the concept behind Coco: people working together in a space meant to foster creativity and productivity while also being a space to relax and recharge.
"Director," on the other hand, is for the individual as your time there is directed by you. Need to plug in and work? Coco and the Director's stadium seating and seemingly ubiquitous outlets allow visitors to work everywhere and anywhere in the cozy coffee shop.
Coco and the Director sources its beans from around the world based on availability and are picked and roasted by the shop's local bean roaster, Forte Legato. As for the food, if it's not made fresh in-house like the sandwich of the day, it's delivered fresh every morning from Renaissance Patisserie from South End.
In addition to sourcing from fair-trade coffee bean farmers, Coco and the Director supports the community through inviting artists into its space to showcase work, promote products and even play music.
Creative Loafing talked with Sean Potter, the director of eat and drink at Coco and the Director, to discuss the shop's focus on supporting the Charlotte community in its mission.
Creative Loafing: What's Coco and the Director's mission?
Sean Potter: Our mission from day one has been all geared toward the community and it's paired in the coffee that we serve, the artists that we work with and the chalkboard menus that we have. So everything that we have is geared to helping out the community and making sure that every decision we made was very focused toward making the community a better place. Us as a company, being owned and operated by Marriott, we definitely could've gotten something cheaper, like the Starbucks of the world or the World Cups of the world, and those are great in their own right but what we really wanted to do was help out the little people. We wanted to help the guy out that typically can't get into a Marriott hotel — which is the local roaster. And everything we did was geared toward showcasing what Charlotte has to offer and that's how we made our decisions.
What does Coco and the Director have to offer that sets it apart?
I think the array of different things we have to offer. Everything is local from the coffee to the pastries we get from our local partner we get delivered every morning. We want a place for Charlotte artists to showcase what they have. What I think that differentiates us from other local coffee shops is that we have the stadium seating which is awesome, you can plug in. We want you to come in and bring a laptop and you can sit there as long as you want. We have people that do interviews, do meetings, we have the collaborative space. We have a lot of different options for you to come in, plug in and work away. Or come in and unplug and unwind. We have free wifi, we have outlets all over the place so you can plug in and do your thing.
Where do you see the coffee shop in five or 10 years?
Hopefully still supporting the community in every aspect and facet, like what we're doing right now. We're working on becoming more and more involved in the community. We've done some movie screenings for local North Carolina artists and we have different artwork featured in Coco and the Director. And just becoming that local neighborhood hangout that Charlotte doesn't really have in a coffee shop.