Zack Bolotin of Porchlight Coffee
So, you're a 22-year-old who owns a coffee shop. Explain to me the philosophy behind your hairless-mole-in-a-business-suit mascot.
That gentleman is an otter. He was drawn by my friend Anje Monte Calvo. There is no correlation between the shop and the otter, but it's something I would wear on a shirt, so I thought, "Why not create a completely unrelated logo?" Our real mascot is this friendly cat named Goose who likes to wander in. You should write your story all about Goose—she's really ridiculously friendly. Maybe she'll come in right now. Heeere, Goose! [Makes kissing sounds.] I guess she can't hear me.
How do you own a coffee shop at age 22?
I opened this shop because it was the only thing I really wanted to do for the next two years of my life. I borrowed some money and spent some money. I've been working as a barista for the past five years. My parents are really proud. Most people don't realize how young I am.
The space in here is pretty minimalist. Do you plan on keeping it this way? And how do you create a coffee-house environment where people aren't hunched over their computers like immovable stone gargoyles?
If you want to make it a social place, you can make certain areas difficult for computer users. For example, it's pretty impossible to do work on a few of the tables in the front, so you're forced to socialize. You really can't put a computer on those tables. I'm thinking of leaving the rest of the place pretty minimalist so people can stretch out, get comfortable, and get to know each other.