Just a few years ago, Andrew Bell could be found studying for his University of Alabama business degree at the Babylon Bean Coffee House, sipping on black cold brews and chai tea lattes.
Now, he’s a part owner in the growing brand’s latest location, this time in Sayville.
“I’ve been working in the company for six years now, [owner] Sal [Gervasi] kind of took me under his wing and said, ‘Here’s the keys, let’s do this thing!'”
The new location, which Bell is looking to open this June, joins the company’s roster of coffee shops in Babylon, North Babylon, Bay Shore and Patchogue.
The Bean’s trio of senior partners — Gervasi, plus brothers Charlie and Michael Ferrara — have taken over the site of the closed Starbucks at 52 Main Street.
The situation feels cyclical for the 26-year-old. Bell said he quit his Starbucks barista post the very day he took to studying at the Bean and introduced himself to Gervasi.
Once his new coffee spot opens, customers can expect a menu identical to those in the other Bean locations.
As for the design and decor: “It’s definitely going to have a homey feel,” Bell said. “We’re going to have pictures of all local artwork to make people feel like it;s part of their community.
“You’re going to feel like home when you’re there.”
Bell is the latest Bean barista promoted to manager and, ultimately, a co-owner.
With each new store, the partners envision the next youthful entrepreneur in line to captain their next location.
The partners finance the buildout for their protégés, who are then given the keys.
“It’s hard today coming out of college and getting a good job,” Gervasi said. “So with that in mind, all of our stores give young people the opportunity for ownership.”
“Sayville is a great village, and that’s basically what we look for,” Gervasi added, regarding choosing a location for Bell. “We look for walking villages, small, quaint, waterfront boating villages where people like to support small business.”
Gervasi said plans are still underway for a sixth Bean location to take over Islip’s old Viking Pub. Expected in 2023, the Islip Bean will boast a new roasting facility for Gervasi and his supply partners at East End Coffee Roasters.
The company is also eyeing a push into Nassau County.
Until then, the focus remains on Bell, who hopes to provide Sayville with the gathering spot that he felt as a student in the Babylon Bean, which has become a community and cultural hub.
“It’s a staple in the community,” he said of the Babylon Bean. “You walk in, they know your name, they know your order and I plan on doing the same thing over in Sayville. I want people to walk in there I want to know their name and have their drink ready for them before they even walk in the door.”
Top: Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/ Yellow House Images.