We had the good fortune of connecting with Logan Mitchell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Logan, what do you attribute your success to?
First: our customers! They are so loyal and supportive, and many of them have been with us since before the store opened. For the past 9 years, we have run a supperclub that allowed us to connect with local farmers, purveyors, and so many wonderful people in the hospitality industry. These events were a way to share our love of food, drinks, and hospitality with our guests, while teaching them about what they were eating and where it came from. Introducing people to new ingredients and supporting local small business continues to be a motivating factor in our lives. When we decided to open Collins & Coupe almost 3 years ago, there was no doubt that this would be a huge part of our business plan! Additionally, being in control of every detail of the project gave us a chance to do things exactly how we wanted to: the decor, the choice to represent as many small businesses on our shelves as possible, how we wrap and bag items at checkout. Upholding our focus on education, we offer monthly classes and free tastings with our small business partners, and each flavor in our collection of 180+ bitters has an open bottle so you can try it in-store before you buy. We also strive to build community by holding a chair seat in the local business district, memberships in the US Bartender’s Guild and Business for Good, and donating part of our sales monthly to a different charity. And most importantly, we believe our store should be a safe place where everyone receives the excellent customer service they deserve. We know that the store wouldn’t exist without our customers!
What should our readers know about your business?
At it’s simplest explanation, Collins & Coupe is a bartending supply store; but it’s so much more than that: We offer high quality home and professional cocktail supplies at all price points, small batch mixers and syrups, vintage and new barware, and the largest in store selection of bitters in California (maybe the country). Basically everything you need to make a great cocktail, save for the actual alcohol! Our business is, while not one-of-a-kind, one of very few worldwide that share a similar vision. That allowed us to create something brand new, almost without boundaries or expectations, and we are so proud of how that turned out! We are dedicated to supporting other small businesses; both our direct neighbors and others around the world. We’ve learned so much since starting this business, mainly that being flexible in our plans allows for new and better ideas to emerge where they need to. Some of the plans we opened the store with have had to be let go of, especially recently. Due to the pandemic, we were forced to pivot to online sales (which we did not offer at all before this started!). We spent countless hours creating our online store; which started as delivery only but has expanded to local pickup and, even more exciting, nationwide US shipping! I’m so proud of the work we did and so appreciate it’s tangible benefit of keeping the store afloat. This is also a step that will allow us to grow, even once we feel it is safe to open our doors again, and may not have happened in a normal world. We were very lucky to have that option, unlike many of our friends and neighbors whose businesses didn’t translate to online sales. Our heart breaks with every closure we hear about. We have also taken time during shutdown to focus on expanding our existing community outreach. In the past it was working to uplift our neighborhood by planning free events, meet-the-maker tastings with our small vendors, and classes. We have added monthly rotating charity donations, offer our space as a safe haven for all people, and are in the process of installing a free community fridge for those in need. We believe that as a business owners we have a responsibility to use our platform for sustainable and long-term change. On that note: we are actively seeking out more Black, woman, LGBTQ+ and people of color owned brands to represent in our store offerings. Know anyone who would be a good fit? Send them our way!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live in San Diego, so outdoors is where it’s at! I love Balboa Park, with it’s gorgeous architecture and stunning museums. I could walk around there all day. You can’t go wrong with a meal and a cocktail at Panama 66 and it’s daily rotating specials, there’s something for everyone. I also love a picnic, so it would be ideal to grab a coffee and a sandwich at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry to enjoy alongside the incredible view at the top of Kate Sessions Park. I’d want to visit the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market on a Sunday to pick up some fresh produce for dinner, stopping by University Heights for a glass of wine at Clos Wine Shop (snag a bottle for dinner!) and a cocktail at Small Bar. Want to go to the beach? Dog Beach in OB is a great option, same sun and sand as other beaches, with the added bonus of cute dogs to smile at. Get a burrito at Mike’s Taco Club to enjoy on the beach, just be careful one of the pups doesn’t steal it! The local music at either Soda Bar or Casbah can’t be beat, and a stop into Sycamore Den for a carefully crafted cocktail is always the best choice of the night.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am only part owner of Collins & Coupe, and most of my work is invisible. The true face and lead to my supporting role is my husband, Gary McIntire. He works endless hours, creating connections and forging relationships with vendors, community members, guests. His dedication is evident in all corners of the shop, he has amazing ideas and grand plans (so much so that I often live up to the title on my business card: Voice of Reason to his Person-in-Charge). I still work a full time job outside of C&C, and that has afforded him the flexibility to run the shop full-time, all while not collecting a regular paycheck since we opened. He’s truly investing in our future, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Someday Collins & Coupe will support us, and it will be due to his hard work right now.
Jen Lewis Mann, Jasmine Fitzwilliam, Rosario Heer