Having been open for only 15 weeks, 8th Day Coffee & Culture has already rounded up a group of regulars with more coming in every week. The coffee shop is located in downtown Phoenix at Second and Roosevelt. Eighth day is a term that the owner and his wife came up with to signify their desire to create a “third place” for people, according to manager Bruce Thurman. A place of light, community and art. You can go to their website by clicking here: http://8thdaycoffee.com/.
“The picture of 8th Day is a type of space where people feel the community and feel a positive vibe,” Thurman said. “A lot of art or coffee spaces have a dark, nihilistic feel to them but our desire is to create a space that has a positive and artistic ambiance to it.”
What’s the idea behind the coffee shop’s motto, “Drink Coffee. Do Good.”? According to their website, when you drink coffee at 8th Day, you are “directly engaging in justice and bringing hope to the Rwandan farmers.” Thurman went further into detail, discussing the history of the farmers’ struggle in Rwanda and said that it is a phrase they’ve borrowed from their coffee purveyor, Land of a Thousand Hills.
“Land of a Thousand Hills took fair trade to the next step,” he explained. “Fair trade means minimum wage and it’s a wonderful guarantee, but this company developed something called the ‘Do Good’ project in which they pay up to twice the fair trade price of coffee from farmers in Rwanda and now farmers in Haiti and Thailand too. They know the needs of those farmers, so they want to make sure their money is going towards something good.”
The cafe offers fair trade teas, iced lattes, cappuccinos, other coffee and frozen drinks, as well as pastries, toast and fresh fruit. They purchase all their food items from local companies and chefs.
“We have the world’s best coffee, and I say that unashamedly,” Thurman expressed. “We sell it the world’s best way too. Each cup of coffee that we sell is individually crafted and it may take a minute or two or three longer, but it’s worth it for the customer.”
Speaking of customers, people of all ages come to check out 8th Day and enjoy their free WiFi, art gallery, conference room and live music shows.
“Our customer base started out with our friends who then told their friends about it,” Thurman said. “Then it was the neighbors, people walking their dog or going from their apartments to work and school. Now people are coming in because they’ve seen us open on First Friday or they know about our art gallery. Word of mouth has become prevalent.”
Although 8th Day’s usual hours are Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm and Saturdays from 7 am to 2 pm, they are open later on First Fridays. They are also closed Sundays.
“First Friday is a demarcation mark for us,” Thurman explained. “That’s when we have local artists performing in the evening and it’s also the premiere for that month’s art show. We are typically open until 11 pm at that time but if the place it still hoppin’, we will stay open until later.”
The gallery that opens every First Friday showcases art that stands for 30 days. About 90% of fresh art comes in for every premiere.
“Art is man’s expression of truth,” Thurman said. “And we feel that it’s very important to give artists the opportunity to share their world view. So many people today are wanting to help a small business and want to help their neighbors, so we are just trying to do good for our local artists.”
When asked about his favorite part of working at the cafe, Thurman said it all revolves around the people, from his staff to his customers.
“When you go into a store, quite often you get greeted with ‘what do you need’ and then ‘ok bye,'” Thurman expressed. “What we try to develop here is a staff that is concerned with the individual that walks through the door. We want to find out who that person is, not just what they want from the menu. We try to develop a relationship with them, which has been successful with the development of a lot of regulars that come to us. This has become their ‘third place.'”
To stay up to date with events and the coffee shop in general, you can follow 8th Day’s social media.