Chris Diedrich eased into roasting espresso for a few years earlier than deciding to take the leap and open a retailer.

He left the mortgage business in 2015 to ascertain the Pura Bean Espresso Firm espresso store, which opened on Seaside Boulevard in San Pablo Household Heart in July 2016.

It was an enormous resolution. 

He offered mortgages for 14 years and was good it, he stated. 

He additionally was burning out. 

Diedrich, who at all times needed to have his personal enterprise, determined roasting and promoting espresso was the best way to do it. 

Seven years into it, he’s comfortable together with his alternative.

“It’s arduous to imagine that it simply shaped out of nothing. Yeah, simply an thought. And it’s grown, so it’s sort of cool,” he stated.

Along with the store at 14286 Seaside Blvd., Suite 25, at Seaside Boulevard and San Pablo Street, Diedrich operates a espresso truck on Saturdays on the Riverside Arts Market underneath the Fuller Warren Bridge alongside Riverside Avenue.

904 Day: Chris Diedrich: Staying centered on Pura Bean Espresso Firm

Chris Diedrich inside Pura Bean Espresso Firm espresso store at 14286 Seaside Blvd., Suite 25, in San Pablo Household Heart.

Picture by David Crumpler

He sells espresso wholesale to some companies round city, together with Sippers Coffeehouse on Gate Parkway and 1748 Bakehouse in Springfield.

In 2024, Pura Bean Espresso shall be featured in a partnership with wine bar Vino Volo on the Verdi Market deliberate for Concourse C post-security at Jacksonville Worldwide Airport. 

The goal date for opening is the primary quarter of 2024.

“Simply to have our identify on the airport– it’s one thing that I by no means would have imagined once I first began the corporate,” Diedrich, 49, stated on the Seaside Boulevard store.

Pura Bean is actually a wholesale companion within the idea, “which makes it simpler for me to navigate” as the corporate will increase its visibility in Jacksonville, he stated.

Pura Bean was in consideration a couple of years again for a distinct post-security spot on the airport. Jacksonville-based Southern Grounds has the contract and opened in February 2022 in Concourse A.

Some months in the past, Vino Volo contacted Diedrich with a proposal because it sought to develop. Diedrich stated the chance might mirror the airport’s efforts to convey a extra native taste to its meals and beverage choices.

The trail to Pura Bean

Diedrich grew up in Austin, Texas, and got here to Jacksonville in 1997 whereas serving within the U.S. Navy. 

He left the Navy in 2000 and started promoting mortgages on the encouragement of a good friend.

Diedrich and his spouse, Sherry, traveled to Costa Rica frequently for trip, the place he developed an curiosity in espresso and its regional origins.

The Pura Bean Espresso Firm truck may be discovered Saturdays on the Riverside Arts Market underneath the Fuller Warren Bridge.

Picture by David Crumpler

In 2011, he determined he needed to discover ways to roast espresso. He experimented utilizing a popcorn popper that belonged to his daughter and shared a number of the outcomes with associates.

The optimistic response prompted Diedrich to ramp up what he was doing and take into consideration monetizing it, he stated.

In 2013, he took benefit of One Spark, a crowdfunding occasion in Downtown Jacksonville. On the encouragement of co-owner Benoit Desclefs, Diedrich arrange a desk exterior The Magnificat Cafe on North Laura Avenue. 

“I used to be simply attempting to see if what I had, individuals would really like. I used to be not pitching for capital,” he stated.

The response to his espresso was good.

Utilizing the cafe as his “commissary,” Diedrich started promoting espresso at Riverside Arts Market in 2014.

“I simply did it on the facet. I had a tent. After we first began, I solely offered luggage of espresso. Over time, we have been promoting luggage of espresso, sizzling espresso after which ultimately chilly brew,” he stated.

As soon as he determined to open a brick-and-mortar retailer – and begin a brand new profession – Diedrich seemed round and ultimately selected the situation close to The Church of Eleven22, which he attends.

The 1,000-square-foot store now has 5 workers.

Pura Bean is open 7 a.m. to six:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and eight a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

He took inspiration from the Costa Rica expression “pura vida” when he named his firm. It means “pure life” or “easy life” and is utilized in dialog to point that life is nice.

Setbacks and alternatives

Two years after opening, he determined to develop into Riverside in a 900-square-foot house on King Avenue. 

He opened the store in June 2018 however closed inside a yr. Diedrich selected to not elaborate on the main points.

“There have been points with the neighborhood, particularly a neighbor, so it was a studying expertise,” he stated.

Diedrich stated he “fell in love with the house, and due to that, I used to be completely OK with not having a drive-thru.”

“Something I do sooner or later goes to have a drive-thru. In right this moment’s setting, most individuals are too busy to get out of their automobile,” he stated.

The choice to shut was financially a tough one and Diedrich got here up with methods to save lots of prices on the Seaside Boulevard location consequently.

Chris Diedrich’s 1979 Pura Bean Volkswagen bus is within the car parking zone in San Pablo Household Heart, not removed from the Pura Bean Espresso Firm espresso store.

Picture by David Crumpler

“The great a part of that was that it helped us get by COVID. The factor that I at all times inform individuals was that King Avenue was me coaching for a marathon and COVID was me working the marathon,” he stated.

Working by the primary few months of the coronavirus pandemic was difficult, “however it was for everyone,” Diedrich stated. 

“We have been again on our toes in a short time. We have been undoubtedly making much less cash, however we didn’t have the expenditures we had beforehand, so it wasn’t as difficult to get by it.”

In 2022, Diedrich purchased a “large field truck” and transformed it right into a cellular espresso truck, which may be discovered each Saturday on the Riverside Arts Market.

He additionally makes use of the truck for company occasions like worker appreciation days. 

“It’s excellent for what we do,” he stated. The one day he can’t match it into an organization’s schedule is Saturday, when he’s in Riverside. He loves the situation and doing enterprise there, and since it was the place Pura Bean began, he feels a way of loyalty as effectively.

There’s now one other espresso truck on the arts market, “however our numbers haven’t modified.”

Diedrich is normally on the Seaside Boulevard retailer six days per week.

He roasts small-batch, artisan espresso in a room on the again. He makes breakfast sandwiches within the store’s convection oven.

One of many rewards of getting his personal small enterprise is the friendships he has established with prospects, he stated.

He even names drinks after them. 

The custom began with a buyer named Kelly, a Marine and Church of Eleven 22 worker, who at all times ordered a caramel latte with an additional shot, Diedrich stated.

‘Everyone knew him. Generally he’d swap up his order. He’d say, ‘Yeah, I’ll take a sizzling Kelly right this moment,’ or ‘I’ll take a chilly Kelly.’ I used to be like, that’s a reasonably good thought.”

The Kelly, a caramel latte with two double pictures of espresso, is now a part of the Pura Bean menu.

It displays a private contact that Diedrich stated is necessary to him in offering a buyer expertise.

Espresso chains opening or increasing in Northeast Florida could also be ongoing, however Diedrich isn’t fazed by that. He stays centered on the standard of his personal product and customer support.

“My philosophy has at all times been fear about what you’re doing, not what different persons are doing. My purpose with my firm is to be the easiest that we may be,” he stated. 

“If I’m worrying about what the opposite man’s doing, I can’t give attention to what I’m presupposed to be doing. It might be like working a race and searching behind you, or proper subsequent to you, to see in case you’re forward of them. You’re going to decelerate.”

Diedrich additionally believes that “the rising tide raises all ships,” he stated. 

“If there are extra espresso locations, we’re all going to profit from it.”