The Bean is a popular Auburn coffee shop that’s stuck in the ’70s and on the move. Its retro decor, patterned wallpaper and velvet chairs have moved from Gay Street to Dean Road.
The coffee shop is not only known for its drinks but also waffles, gelato and cinnamon rolls.
On any given day at The Bean students will be jam packed at the tables, laughing and studying, though often more talking than actual work. Live music events sometimes draw a crowd, and games are played among friends.
The move to Dean Road came as a shock to some patrons who had visited the location on Gay Street for years.
“We chose to move to the new location because of all the development downtown,” said Hope Nichols, head barista and social media manager. “Our landlord had been approached about selling the building a few times, and with all the inevitable growth we knew we needed to find a new home for The Bean in order to continue serving the people of Auburn.”
Moving locations was not just a matter of picking a spot, Nichols said. The Bean has a very specific look that had to be re-created on Dean Road.
“Countless hours were put in by my mom and dad, Ben and Sydney Nichols (the owners), contractors and even our team of baristas to help paint, clean, arrange, move furniture in order to make it happen,” she said. “Now that we’re open, the most difficult part is making the kitchen feel like a home. It’s similar to moving a house and how you aren’t quite sure where everything goes yet, we are still finding our way around our new kitchen since we are not used to having so much room and storage compared to the old shop.”
The Bean’s new location is already regularly packed with patrons who love its cozy, homey atmosphere.
“The most rewarding part would be the incredible turnout of people every single day and the love poured out from our customers,” Nichols said. “We had an incredible business before in our downtown location, but we’re so busy now in our new location we can barely stay ahead.
“It’s also super rewarding to hear how excited people are about the new location — the previous location was a home to so many different people, and getting to hear them walk in the door and gasp at all the new decor and our hard work is incredible.”
Dean Road is home to a lot of other popular businesses; Foosackly’s and Tenda Chick are just two. Now located a little farther from campus, The Bean hope to reach more Auburn residents than just college students, Nichols said.
“We hope our customers know that the new location was so intentionally thought out and planned for over six months and we want it to feel cozy and like a home just as the other location did,” she said. “We’re excited for how we can reach the community with this prime location and expectant of everything that is to come.”
A lot of The Bean’s menu remained the same in the move.
“Our drink menu has stayed pretty consistent with the previous location — we add specialty drinks each season,” Nichols said. “Our food menu is pretty consistent as well — still have the beloved cinnamon rolls, muffins, toasts and waffles.”
One welcome change is additions to gluten-free food. Those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance will likely welcome getting to enjoy The Bean’s signature waffles.
“Just hearing the chatter and conversations and community happening out in the cafe throughout the day is the sweetest reminder of why we do what we do — serving fair-trade coffee in order to build relationships and have community with others,” Nichols said.