“One of my favorite things is to have a three-hour conversation over coffee with someone” –Andy Grammer
Before there was Populace, there was Brewtopia reigning down on the very same spot, until they decided to move to the City Market of Bay City allowing Populace to swoop back in. I say “back in” because I was told by several people who have lived here longer than I that Populace Coffee used to be in the same location it is now, but they left for reasons I know nothing about.
When I first moved to Bay City, I wasn’t really used to coffee shops being around, so I was excited and until about three years ago, I’ve only been to a coffee shop that wasn’t Starbucks a handful of times. Brendan, my boyfriend, and I stumbled in around 7 p.m. the air was brisk and the sun was still out. I stared at the chalkboard menu in awe of all the choices. Brendan already knew what he wanted when the barista came up to us and asked, “Hi, what can I get you guys?”
He looked at me and I looked at him—we both knew very well that I had no clue of what to get and he was ready to order his Chai Latte. I was nervous because I didn’t know how I liked my coffee. I didn’t know what the difference between a mocha and a latte was. This, of course, was before I learned how to love black coffee. So, I blurted out the first thing I saw on the menu—a Candy Bar Mocha. After we got our drinks we sat on a couch in the front of the shop. Brendan picked up a magazine on the table in front of us, put his arm around me and read. I took a deep breath and decided this would be our coffee shop.
We loved it there. We rushed in on our later days before class to get some coffee. I would grab some drinks for my co-worker and I. I would drag my friends along and convince them to sit with me for the heck of it. Brendan and I would talk for hours in that coffee shop, despite how much he disliked sitting in coffee shops. We knew the baristas by name. They knew us by drink order—one goes to my school and still comes up to me like we’re besties. But eventually things changed. We decided to make our own coffee and tea. Eventually it was a matter of whether we wanted to go downtown instead of making it ourselves. Brendan has never been a fan of hanging out in coffee shops and he started working more; I changed jobs and classes got harder so at home was where we studied.
In essence we grew up a little. We started thinking about our future and wanted to save.
And by the time I walked in after an unpleasant therapy session less than a year later, things were different. Different baristas, different recipes and different drinks. The atmosphere had changed. Maybe my tastes had changed, too. I had started to venture towards other shops in the area. I was a hummingbird around a flock of flamingos at Brewtopia and I don’t think a hummingbird is supposed to be in the same climate as flamingos.
But as I said earlier, Brewtopia moved to the City Market. I don’t really go there anymore. I’ve gotten a few drinks from them when the City Market first opened but there’s nowhere to sit except on a bar stool and the various tables throughout the Market. Definitely recommend checking it out sometime and trying some of the other vendors in the Market but Brewtopia slowly lost its appeal to me and made the ultimate decision to move elsewhere. Perhaps it was for the best for them. I’d like to think of that coffee shop as an old friend—I never see them but I hope for the best in everything they do.