#StoryTime: Drowsy Poet Musings

A withered plant stretches its leaves against the window, and a panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico shines through the glass. In the distance, two men on jet skis tote on the water, the ripples slowly fading behind them. Indie music plays softly in the background. A man reads the newspaper, his glasses low on his nose.

And I sip an iced-coffee concoction from the secret menu known as the Jimi Hendrix.

 The Drowsy Poet sits at the top of a three-story building in Pensacola Beach, Florida. A laid-back coffee shop, the Drowsy Poet roasts their own coffee beans and specializes in local flavor. Photos of renowned surfers decorate the beige walls.

 “It’s too bad you all won’t live on the west side,” a woman says. Her Boston accent is thick and loveable as she talks to her son, Steve—the owner of the coffee shop.

“It’s not worth it,” he says. Food sizzles in the background, and the aroma catches my nose. “I’m only gonna move if God says move here, or else there’s no point in moving.”

“You’re right, you’re right,” she says, her head nodding as she takes a bite of her sandwich.

Steve tells the story of visiting the original Drowsy Poet shop in Pensacola. One day while stopping in for a cup of coffee, Steve said to the owner, “You know, Bill, I sure would love to tell my friends where I got this great coffee, but you don’t have Facebook.”

“I hate all that stuff,” Bill had said.

With confidence attributable to many a marketer, Steve said, “I know you do, which is why you’re going to hire me to do it.”

Bill invited Steve into his office to chat about marketing, and an hour later, Steve found himself employed as a barista and marketer. A couple of years later, when a local surf shop, Innerlight, wanted to open a store on the beach, Steve gladly obliged.

“We’re going to add lights and umbrellas on the patio. Have you seen the flowers yet?” Steve pulls down on the espresso machine’s lever. “I think I might call it the Oasis.”

To make a shop like the Drowsy Poet successful, it takes long hours, risks, and a congenial personality.

And, of course, coffee.