Pueblo Querido Coffee Plans Williamsburg Opening in Face of Pandemic
Pueblo Querido Coffee Roasters (195 Greenpoint Ave.) opened in 2016 on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard and instantly became a destination for quality coffee made from imported Colombian beans in a neighborhood with plenty of competition.
After signing a lease in March of 2019 for a freshly renovated Williamsburg storefront at 34 N. 6th St., 33-year-old owner Christian Guzman remains cautiously optimistic with the tentative opening of his second PQ Coffee shop that is scheduled for May 1st.
In the midst of a pandemic, Guzman says that that he has no choice but to push forward with the opening due to his rent obligation and business insurance payments. Guzman hopes that after pouring all of his resources into furnishing the new space with Colombian murals and even a vintage car inside of the store, PQ Coffee will bring life to the currently barren stretch of N. 6th Street near Kent Avenue.
Due to his leveraging of the Greenpoint shop as collateral in the Williamsburg lease terms in lieu of a what would have been nearly a million-dollar deposit, Guzman says that the stakes are high, but that there remains reason for optimism as his new coffee shop will be one of the only businesses open on the entire block.
On a typical business day in the pre-coronavirus years, PQ Coffee in Greenpoint would serve approximately 300 customers seeking a caffeine fix per day. During the recent quarantine weeks, the coffee shop is lucky to see more than 50 customers walk through their doors in a day. “One, two weeks ago, it was dead,” Guzman said.
Online orders for PQ Coffee’s signature beans help to compensate for the decline of in-person sales, according to Guzman. Coffee bean orders for both delivery and pickup continue to increase, especially mail orders from Brooklynites who have decamped from the city and are still craving their go-to brew.
Guzman utilizes his relationships with farmers to import single-origin beans sourced directly from small farms in Colombia that he and his team roast weekly in-house. “In Colombia everything is picked by hand,” he says, adding that the high altitude and climate in his native region in Colombia known as the “Coffee Triangle” allow for a chemical-free growing and harvesting process with fewer insects to fend off.
Construction began on the new Williamsburg space in early 2019, but delays due to the building’s electrical and construction inspections pushed back the original December 2019 opening.
“They got everything passed and then coronavirus hit,” Guzman said. “Contractors stopped, plumbing didn’t want to come, the electrician didn’t wan to come; so it was closed for almost a month.”
As of this week, all inspections have passed and the final touches are being put in place at the N. 6th Street space, and if the espresso machine Guzman ordered from Italy arrives in time, PQ Coffee will be open one week from today, when Guzman’s first rental payment is due.
“The rent in Williamsburg is like two times the amount of my Greenpoint rent,” he said.