Ypsilanti-produced fresh baked goods await students this fall at the brand new Cafe Liv, owned by Eastern Michigan University alumnus William Sloan.
Named after Sloan’s daughter, Café Liv, sits in North Washington and Washtenaw in space previously occupied by A1 Quality Auto Repair & Transmission. Buying the building about three years ago, after the auto shop closed, Sloan got the idea to open a different kind of business.
“Around the time the tenant moved out and the closing started, my wife and I had our first daughter Olivia,” Sloan said.
Not only is the shop named after her daughter, but there’s also a latte named Liv, which features lavender and rose.
Another latte, named Chloe, is named after a friend of Sloan’s who runs the nonprofit dance studio Fun Girl Dance. One day she walked into the store and asked if there was any pistachio syrup and told Sloan he had to bring rose and pistachio.
So, Sloan named the pistachio, pink latte after Chloe.
But coffee isn’t the only thing on the menu. The shop also offers kombucha on tap and baked goods from local vendors Milk and Honey and Bird Dog Bakery.
“Two good companies and good people,” Sloan said. “They’re hyper local, what I’ve tried to focus on is making sure all the produce, the coffee and everything we get is as local as possible.”
Sloan finally opened the cafe on July 11 after spending the previous year learning all about coffee, ordering produce, painting the building and getting ready.
“I just wanted a place for people to come hang out and relax and have a nice cup of coffee and meet new people,” Sloan said. “It’s been a good experience so far.”
Prior to his idea of opening a cafe, Sloan was not a coffee drinker and had no experience as a barista, but took on the challenge of quickly learning everything there is to know about creating and coffee consumption.
“I’m the kind of person who likes to dive deep, and so I looked up barista schools, coffee training, something like that and there’s actually a place in Ann Arbor, it’s called BD Barista School so I reached out to them, took an eight-week course on just about everything,” Sloan said.
The BD Barista School taught Sloan a range of knowledge about how to be a coffee entrepreneur, the history of coffee, how to pull off the perfect espresso and use different types of equipment, as well as how to create beautiful latte art. .
“It was really invaluable to me personally because I didn’t even like coffee until a year and a half ago,” Sloan said. “I didn’t drink coffee at all, I always drank tea.”
Going forward, Sloan primarily wants Café Liv to be a good place for people to come and hang out.
“I want to have events, I know there’s been like an absence of community events because Cultivate closed,” Sloan said.
Sunday morning yoga, live music and art workshops are just a few of the many ideas that are in the air and could come to fruition at Café Liv.
“I’ve also met tons of artists who would be interested in hanging up, displaying art on that back wall,” Sloan said. “I went to the East and have a BFA in the East, so maybe helping students get their work out there would be nice too.”
Students and community members can currently visit the space daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., times that may change in the future depending on demand.