AEDP checked in with Mark Warmuth, owner of Swings Coffee in Del Ray to celebrate 100 years! (with soy latte in hand)...
Mark, thanks so much for chatting with us about Swings and congrats on the centennial! We're really excited for you -- it's such an impressive milestone. As you look back on your history, what stands out to you as being Swings' crowning achievements?
As a company, it starts with the fact that the original "Mesco Building" is an historic landmark in DC and that we are on the cusp of celebrating 100 years in operation. Unfortunately, we no longer occupy the building, but when 8 in 10 businesses fail in today's economy, Swing's identity being permanently imprinted on the DC landscape is significant.
We think so too, and it's just another example of why Alexandria remains an integral part of the DC area. That said, why did Swings choose Alexandria as a place to do business? What about the City drew your company in?
Our Del Ray Roastery and coffeebar was designed and built with the original Mesco Building concept in mind - a place where local folks can gather, enjoy the smell of coffee roasting and learn a thing or two about our business. We wanted to be an integral part of a local community, and Del Ray provides an ideal mix of neighborhood and business growth to accommodate our current and future business needs.
We definitely agree that Del Ray provides that community-oriented landscape for businesses. And your space is really fantastic -- it's urban and industrial but yet inviting and comfortable. So, as you were building your Alexandria presence, did you take advantage, or have you recently taken advantage of, business development services offered by AEDP, the City of Alexandria, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Visit Alexandria, etc.?
The City of Alexandria has been very supportive of our getting started, beginning with the permit process of opening a new business followed by an official ribbon cutting by Mayor Euille in 2013. Haven't had an opportunity to work with AEDP or the SBDC yet.
Great, we're thrilled the City has been so supportive. To be honest, Mark, many businesses don't get to see 100 years, and most don't have the opportunity to celebrate multigenerational success like you have. What advice can you give to Alexandria small business owners on creating lasting success?
Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint, put the right pieces in place early even if you have to invest a little more time, capital, or work a bit harder.
Wise words. Any fun coffee news you can share?
We look forward to introducing a "Centennial Blend" coffee in July; it will be an interesting twist on our Mesco blend, with some exceptional coffees that just arrived from origin.
Sounds great to us! Thanks so much, Mark, and if you ever need anything, please feel free to reach out to our team. We wish Swings Coffee another 100 years of success!
Above Left: Rationing during WWII didn't stop coffee drinkers from lining up for an exceptional cuppa from Swings. Above Right: Swings in Del Ray today offers their on-site roasted goodness to the City -- and a place to gather and connect. Vintage images courtesy Swings Coffee and used with permission.