While initial discussions to launch a coffee shop began in 2019, plans quickly went south after the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but Central City Coffee Co-owners Peter Rodriguez and
Alejandro Gutierrez Chavez pivoted and truly found a way to blend coffee and civics.
Initially, the duo was connected via a mutual friend and the two had a mutual goal, a love for coffee and a passion for civics.
“Back in 2019 Peter and I realized that there wasn’t a coffee spot in San Bernardino that truly served as a meeting space where community members could meet, get involved, and network with one another. In early 2020 we attempted to purchase a unit in Downtown San Bernardino but loan providers were skeptical because of the unstable economy due to the pandemic, so we pivoted and went to the Home Depot,” said Gutierrez Chavez.
While the full fledged plan to open a coffee shop is not out of the picture, the duo has since had an overwhelming amount of success with its coffee cart – which was completely built by Rodriguez and Gutierrez Chavez and is now operating weekly at the Garcia Center for the Arts.
“Since we sold our first cup of coffee in Summer 2021 lots of local community organizers have been hitting us up. With our coffee cart we’re really meeting the community where they’re at, whether it’s at the Garcia Center or other local pop-ups,” said Rodriguez.
The idea to operate a coffee cart at the Garcia Center was a natural fit for Central City Coffee, as its vision for the city and values heavily align with that of the organization.
“I’ve been involved with organizing at the Garcia Center for the Arts and very quickly noticed there wasn’t a space in the city for organizers to congregate or discuss issues in the community. Since then the center has been extremely gracious and completely aligned with our values and mission to overcome challenges in the city,” continued Gutierrez Chavez.
Another element that makes Central City Coffee special to the city is that all product is locally sourced and crafted by Rodriguez and Gutierrez Chavez, both San Bernardino natives.
“We source from Slow Bloom, an inclusive co-op that’s aligned with our values of equity, diversity and inclusion. Literally everything from our name, which was inspired by the Carousel Mall (formerly Central City Mall) to our arrowhead logo was all inspired by the city that Alejandro and I come from,” concluded Rodriguez.
One of the coffee cart’s most popular drinks includes the honey cinnamon latte, which is crafted with raw honey, cinnamon, oat milk, and a shot of espresso; other fan favorites are the lavender and rose latte and the butterfly hibiscus tea.
Central City Coffee is located at the Garcia Center for the Arts every Tuesday and Wednesday from 7AM to 2PM.
The Garcia Center is located at 536 W 11th St, San Bernardino.
For more information, follow @centralcitysb on Instagram.