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The Red Espresso: Cultivating Minds While Brewing Up a Warm Cup
January 10, 2008

Every business impacts the community. Some for good, others for bad, but it takes a little extra to become part of it.

by Jonny Glines

Coffee Shop
Alica Garcia's Red Espresso is located on 509 east, 300 south in
Salt Lake City.

Like most kids growing up, my circle of friends was more than just a group of elementary school colleges. We were a club, and every club must have a clubhouse. Now in my mid-20s, I've found a new clubhouse in SLC coffee shop The Red Espresso. But instead of trading baseball cards and comic books, this is a place where creative minds can share ideas, news, art and interesting conversation, all while enjoying a warm cup of joe.

"I see this as a gathering space for creative minds to get together and share ideas," said Red Espresso owner Alicia Garcia. "I use the coffee shop as a means for non-traditional networking and marketing."

The Red Espresso is located on 509 east, 300 south, in the same building as Utah Stories and web developing/design company Sugar House Creative. Just a few blocks down you'll find Salt Lake's main business hub which holds the Salt Lake Center of Commerce, The Triad Center and Wells Fargo Building. But few could guess that much of the city's freelance business collaboration is being held within the Red Espresso's walls.

Garcia holds bi-weekly "mixed media meetings" where she has gathered many of SLC's freelance filmmakers, producers, writers, music composers, documentarians and journalists. Here short film screenings, brain storm sessions and collaborative initiatives are accompanied by great drinks and o'dourves.

"The meetings connect people to each other's resources. People can use each other's skills, inspire each other and give each other feedback on their projects," said Garcia.

I personally have attended these "mixed media meetings." There, I was introduced to creative people whom I never would have met otherwise. Through the meetings, I was able to team up with music producer/composer Steve Auerbach, who created beautiful music to accompany one of my Utah Stories documentaries. I also met Utah Free Media owner Patrick Commiskey, who featured a podcast of the documentary on his internet radio program.

Coffee Shop

The shop itself is small, quant and like Garcia, multi-dimensional. Aside from filmmaking and marketing, Garcia is a talented interior designer and her art is apparent in the layout of the Red Espresso's interior. The room gives patrons a soft peaceful environment, while surrounding them with unique vintage decorative. Open only a few months now, Garcia hit the ground running, and only plans for growth in the future.

"Staring this spring, we're opening our patio, which has a really great view," said Alica Garcia. "The space will be offered for local community artist to display their work during gallery stroll and other special events."

The theme of the Red Espresso menu is "something for everyone." Garcia says she hates it when coffee shops don't let guest choose what milk they like so she always keeps fresh stock of assorted milks. She also makes sure that vegan and vegetarian items, such as cookies, cakes and sandwiches are always available, all of which are made locally. Daily special prices are guaranteed to be cheaper that any other coffee shop, some lattes can be as cheap as $2.50.

Garcia extends an open invitation to local artists, musicians, organizations or study groups that would like to use her space to further their projects or display their talents. She also invites anyone to just stop by and grab a cup, but insists The Red Espresso isn't like other coffee shops around.

"Drop in and mention this article for a two for one deal on a hot chocolate or espresso drink and make a new friend!" said Alicia Garica.

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