Tim Gautreaux with Nova Espresso

Tim Gautreaux with Nova Espresso

This week on The Mobile Alabama Business Podcast, we sit down with Tim Gautreaux. Listen in as we discuss his life, career journey, and how he got into the world of espresso!

Produced by Blue Fish.


Tim Gautreaux: My name is Tim Gautreaux and I'm the owner of Nova Espresso. Marcus Neto: I love it. Welcome to the podcast, Tim. Tim Gautreaux: It's good to be here. Marcus Neto: I'm remarking... Like we're recording now and I'm going to ask some questions, so you're going by Tim now instead of Timmy? Tim Gautreaux: I mean it's probably been a while since I've gone by Timmy. Marcus Neto: Okay. Tim Gautreaux: But, you know, this is the third time that I've lived in Mobile, so there's a lot of history here with old friends. So if anybody comes into the shop and they're like, "Hey, is Timmy here," then our team, our staff knows that they've known me for a very long time. Marcus Neto: You get people from Grace I gather? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I mean it's kind of like a nickname at this point. Marcus Neto: So for those of you that are listening in and listen regularly, you'll notice that Tim shares the same first name and last name as we had on probably like two months ago or three months ago, so that would be the reason why you would like a Timmy for a while? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: But I can completely understand as a grown ass man that it's time to drop the M-Y on the name and go by- Tim Gautreaux: It's my... Yep. That's my dad. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Welcome to the podcast. I'm happy to have you here. I love what you guys are bringing to downtown and I know you have some plans for expansion and stuff like that. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: So anything that we can kind of do to tell the story of you and of Nova Espresso. Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: Before we go down that path, tell us the story of Tim. Where are you from? Where did you go to high school? Did you go to college? Married? Kids? Just some backstory so people know a little but about you. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, which explains the E-A-U-X on the end of the last name. Then live there till about seven years old, very short stint in the Chicago area, and then sent kindergarten through eighth grade here in Mobile. Tim Gautreaux: My family then relocated to upstate South Carolina. High school in upstate South Carolina. I always tell people if you've seen the movie Radio, that's where I graduated high school, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris. It's one of those Friday Night Lights kind of story, football. Tim Gautreaux: Then fast forwarding a little bit, got married in 2008 to... Who is now my business partner, Clair, and actually moved back to Mobile. So we spent 2009 to the end of 2012 here in Mobile and then moved to Texas and spent about six years in Dallas, which is where we had our first child, our daughter, and about a year after she was born decided that we were coming back to Mobile, which we now consider home, and have since had another one, our son, Fitz. So we have Violet, she's four. Fitz is 19 months old. Yeah, we've been back in Mobile since June 2018. Marcus Neto: That's cool. For the record, for the listeners, we try to get Clair on but she was too busy, so she sent Tim. Tim Gautreaux: She is literally too busy. That is not an exaggeration. Marcus Neto: You and I have known each other for probably the better part of a decade or something like that. I know that you send quite a bit of time in the church world, led worship and did a number of things there. I did find it quite interesting when you were coming back and you reached out and I found out that you were kind of opening up a coffee shop. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: So what was the thinking behind switching from what I thought was your trajectory to something that I didn't know that you had any kind of idea that you were going to go down this path? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I grew in a pastor's home and simultaneously as I got older fell in love with music. I have a very musical family, and it seemed like the vein of spending the majority of your life and your week in church and also having a passion for music, it kind of just naturally fit to where... You know, I had played music in church for my whole life, and then when it came time to kind of make that career decision that was the path that I went down. Tim Gautreaux: To kind of cut to the chase and not give a whole lot of I guess opinion in terms of what I've resolved on the back side of it, working in church is a lot like working in the corporate world. It's a business and- Marcus Neto: There are budgets and goals and- Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. The better you are at something, you can get promoted and work your way up. So I ended up in Texas, in Dallas, which it's still the south and there are a lot of churches, a lot of really big churches, and spent- Marcus Neto: Let's qualify. A really big church, not as in like a couple hundred people? We're talking like 20,000 or 30,000 people? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. So the church that I worked at, I guess if you could quantify Easter number you're talking about 20,000 in the congregation. By the end of my stint there I was overseeing all of the weekend worship prayer, the campuses... It's a multi-site church. Tim Gautreaux: I think to kind of correlate, to answer your question, spending my whole life in church and then working professionally in church really rooted me in just a passion for community and people and just being able to invest authentic relationship. Tim Gautreaux: I think kind of how coffee came into the picture is just that's what coffeehouses are. It's a community. It's- Marcus Neto: It's a third place. Tim Gautreaux: It's a third place, so you see a lot of first dates, you see a lot of meetings, you see a lot of people just hanging out studying. But nine times out of 10 it's two people at a table or four people at a table. It's revolving around some sort of community and relationship there. Marcus Neto: Yeah. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term third place, typically you think of home, work, and then some other place that people might congregate or something along those lines. There was some terminology surrounding that that was making it's way around a number of years ago. They kept referring to these places where people congregate as a third place, so that's where that came from. Marcus Neto: I guess we'll get into this a little bit more. Let's go back on script here. What was your first job, and were there any lessons that you still remember from that? Tim Gautreaux: My first job was actually the only job that I've ever been fired from. Marcus Neto: Oh, God, I got to hear this. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I was working at a barbecue restaurant when we lived in South Carolina. I was in the 10th grade. I think to answer your question and like what is something that you learned from it, was just... I think it was a great boss that confronted me in my laziness and probably made a bogus excuse as to why I couldn't come into work, and he was like, "You're fired, dude." I was a 15 or 16 year old. It hit me so hard, I was like that's impossible. Marcus Neto: Don't you know who I am? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I mean like come on, really? Marcus Neto: I just didn't want to come to work today. All my friends are hanging out and I didn't want- Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I was missing out on something I'm sure. Then it was like dang, how am I going to afford gas for my truck? I'm embarrassed. It was like humiliating, so it was a very quick lesson. I was like okay, I'm not doing that ever again. Marcus Neto: I think that's the first time we've ever gotten that response, I remember it well because I was fired from... Nobody ever wants to talk about those kinds of things. I think that's cool, because even in something that would typically be thought of a bad situation, you figured out okay, that was a positive thing because I ever want that to happen again. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. It sucked. It was like I'm not doing that again. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Yeah. That's cool. Talk to us about Nova Espresso. I normally ask the question how did you start the business, but I want you to go back a little bit and just talk about where did the idea kind of come from? I know it came out of a desire to see people growing in community and stuff like that, but there was obviously something that inspired Nova, not just any coffee shop, but Nova. So what was that? Tim Gautreaux: It goes back to like my favorite part about working in kind of the church realm. Most people refer to it as working in ministry, was just exactly that, like the community that came out of it. And being in kind of the music world, there are a lot of stereotypes, but then just similarities across the board, where like we'd drink a lot of coffee. Tim Gautreaux: So as a hobby and even like a day off, kind of like gallivanting around town, like Dallas has tons of great coffee shops. You hear of like a bar crawl or something like that. Marcus Neto: A coffee crawl. Tim Gautreaux: There are coffee crawls. You can get super caffeinated and jittery and it's not like... Definitely not something you could do every day, but just- Marcus Neto: I've been there before, man. That's no fun at all. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. You feel like you can't even function. But just an appreciation for the craft of coffee and seeing a very parallel group of people, seeking out community, and like I said before, hanging out, you see this setting, this experience that it's almost like the coffee is a byproduct, giving people a great place to spend five minutes or five hours, that dichotomy literally exists. Tim Gautreaux: We have people that are studying and working all day, or we just have people that are coming in grabbing a cup to go. But going to different coffee shops and really feeling like creating that type of space is attainable. It's something we can do. Tim Gautreaux: I think in hindsight we felt like Dallas didn't need another coffee shop. We visited Mobile for a wedding, an old friend, and spent some time driving around downtown, and it just felt right. It's like yeah, this idea that we've kind of been kicking around for really two years before it happened, I think it's a great opportunity to move back home to Mobile and give it a shot. Marcus Neto: Yeah. You definitely got a good vibe, so it does... And I know you and your wife both have some design skills there as well, just good taste, so it definitely has kind of that vibe of people want to go there. Marcus Neto: ... that vibe of people want to go there because it's cool. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: But at the same time, I met a friend over there last week, I think it was, and he had never been there before, and I was like, "Yeah, they make a great cup of coffee." And I consider Starbucks sewage, and I don't drink gas station coffee or anything like that. I'm pretty snobby when it comes to my coffee, so it's good praise coming from somebody who's drank a lot of coffee in their time. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Much appreciate it. Marcus Neto: I'm going to say one little story. You were mentioning the whole coffee crawl thing. I went to South by Southwest a number of years ago, and I was there representing a company that I used to work for. And one of the customers there was like, "Hey, I want to buy you a drink." And this was afternoon time or something like that, and we hadn't had a drink the day before that was espresso, heavy cream, and not vodka, tequila, all mixed together, which is great if you're just having one or maybe two. But after, I don't know, 10, you start to see things in a different light. The tequila didn't bother me, it was all the espresso. It was just like... Tim Gautreaux: Caffeine. Yeah. Marcus Neto: I mean, it was just not a good place. Tim Gautreaux: Over-caffeinated is a thing. Marcus Neto: It is. It absolutely is. Tim Gautreaux: And you have to know your limit. I think after going into our third year, a lot of people are shocked when I tell them that I typically drink one cup of coffee a day. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Actually, I'm shocked too, because I would think at least two or three. Tim Gautreaux: No. Yeah, I know my limit. I know that I don't like the way that I feel if I have too much coffee. Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, it's definitely not a good feeling. Anyway, so you decided on coming back to Mobile, some things kind of fell in place as far as the location goes. You know what I mean? And I'm going to ask the question, but I'm also going to give you an out. I know that you have desires to expand. Do you care to expand on that at all, or just want to let it kind of happen? Because I don't know how much is public about all that. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. We're expanding into Midtown off of Old Shell by the Dew Drop Inn. That's a known thing. It's called Nova Market. We're occupying the far west corner of a mixed use building, residential above, and really the concept is to replicate the existing downtown location. But this particular building has more space than our downtown location, so we'll have a full kitchen. And then in between, it's kind of like a shotgun, if you can envision that. You walk in, it will look very similar to Nova. In between the kitchen, which will be in the back, will be kind of a curated grocery retail. We'll have a fridge wall, essentially, that we're planning to have craft beer available, canned, some wine, also kind of essentials. So the goal would be that you could come in, get a cup of coffee, get a meal, and also- Marcus Neto: And then a gallon of milk or some eggs or something like that. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. And we'll see how it goes. But beyond that, I would love to have an intentional, curated source of goods that you could cook a meal. You could get pasta and the necessary ingredients to go with that, where it's wine, beer, got enough to cook a meal. And Claire will say we'll have [inaudible 00:15:48] toilet paper and Band-Aids, just trying to make it as essential as possible. And a lot of that comes out of having a full year of COVID, this mantra of essential business, essential business. Tim Gautreaux: So being a little bit removed from that now, six months, I would say, especially here in the South, we found out that coffee was essential. So anything we could add to that, we'll have a walk-up window that will be available to the exterior of the building, where you can just walk up and order a coffee. So that's kind of a lot about the expansion that's coming soon. We purchased a food trailer that is currently sitting on our property. It will be called Front Yard Tacos, and we kind of want to do a breakfast taco reminiscent of Austin, Dallas. We- Marcus Neto: Nice. Here at the downtown location? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Okay, very cool. Tim Gautreaux: We have them available grab and go right now, but just really simple, bacon, egg, and cheese, brisket, egg, and cheese. We've done some pork belly and kind of getting creative with that whole thing. But it's been cool to see that expand at our current location, where it's a lot of our downtowners that are going back to work are really excited about being able to have a quick breakfast option with good coffee, and then they're on their way. Marcus Neto: For sure. That's really cool. I'm always excited to see businesses healthy and expand and stuff like that, but I mean, it's always cool when you know the folks that are seeing that success. But I do want to ask a question because you mentioned it, so COVID. Is there anything that you can go back and look at that you did that helped you through that time period? Tim Gautreaux: I mean, I vividly remember a night where Claire and I stayed up til 2:00 AM. And it was just shifting our entire business model to eCommerce, online, giving our customer the ability to order the drink, their regular online, and then we would bring it out to them curbside. They would order it, have a pickup time, and we joke, but we say we were like a glorified Sonic business model, but coffee. Marcus Neto: Not too far off, yeah. Tim Gautreaux: And larger cities had I think more to deal with in terms of shutdowns, and having some friends that operate service industry businesses in larger cities kind of gave us a leg up to say, we're seeing New Orleans shift to takeout and curbside pickup, and all of these things. So we kind of had the ability to get a few days ahead of the curve in making that available for Nova downtown. Tim Gautreaux: And I think that was a pivotal moment. We did that, and we still have a product that's available called a Lazy Latte. And the idea was giving people the resources to have coffee at home in a larger quantity. So we were doing half gallon Lazy Lattes, which is essentially 20 shots of espresso, one of our house-made syrups, and we do whole milk or oat milk. And it makes about 15 drinks. So fast forward to present day, we have tons of customers that will order those. Marcus Neto: Lazy Latte. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. And they have coffee for the week. So they'll come in, pick up a bag of coffee, a drink for right now, and then a 64 ounce Lazy Latte to where they'll portion it out in the mornings, and they've got their Nova at home. So yeah, definitely a product that sustained us. We were making a ton of those during COVID. Marcus Neto: Yeah. I just think it's cool, because everybody has to figure out some way to make it work. And we had the ability to do work, but we went distributed for a period of time, or remote as most people would know it. But it's always interesting to me to hear what food industry and retail places were doing, because you guys had a lot more issues with the shutdown than what we did. Do you remember the first time that really made you think there might be something to this? Oftentimes we find ourselves in the business, and we still like, "Well, I don't know. This may or may not work." Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: But there's got to be a point where you're kind of like, "All right, no, this is good." Do you remember that? Tim Gautreaux: I do. We don't have to cover this entirely, but when we made the decision to come back to Mobile, we were negotiating a lease on an entirely building than the one that we're in. And packed up, sold our house, came back to Mobile. We were actually living with my parents, and we were adamant about a timeline of opening. And if I remember correctly, that was extended by 11 months. And what we had to do in the meantime was essentially open a coffee shop with no coffee shop. And this is kind of funny, full circle, because the very first pop-up that we did was at your space. Marcus Neto: Yeah, BlueFish. We had a networking event that you [crosstalk 00:21:34]. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Well, it was after you won... It was an award that you won. I think it was small business. Marcus Neto: Yeah, small business of the year [crosstalk 00:21:40]. Tim Gautreaux: But it happened to be at the timing of a mixer you were doing, and so it was coinciding celebrating this award. And one of your employees reached out and was like, "Hey, do you want to serve coffee?" And so that was the first pop-up that we did. And then over the span of probably the next eight months, we would find ourselves in coworking spaces, we would do antique gallery on the weekends. And- Marcus Neto: [inaudible 00:22:09]. I didn't realize that that's why you were doing that. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Yeah. Marcus Neto: What extended it 11 months? Was it- Tim Gautreaux: It was the fact that the building that we were negotiating fell through, found the space that we're currently in, and then- Marcus Neto: But the build out was going to take [crosstalk 00:22:26]. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, you can look back on our Instagram and see the progress that that building, the progression there. It was completely gutted, so we had to turn a completely empty shell into what is currently existing. Marcus Neto: Wow. Tim Gautreaux: But I think to answer your question, the realization of this can work was just the excitement that we felt in the community of people kind of following us to these pop-ups. And so we weren't in everyday coffee shop, but when we would find ourselves at an event, we would see regulars. We would see familiar faces. And so through social media, we watched that brand kind of take on its own identity. So when we were able to open our brick and mortar day one, I want to say we had like 1,500 followers on Instagram. So it was preexisting clientele that walked in through the doors day one without a whole ton of marketing and really having to get the word out there. Marcus Neto: Yeah, no, it's actually the perfect way of doing something along those lines, because I mean, most people don't realize it, but when people are building audiences online, it's usually for a reason. They're going to use that to leverage to sell shoes or furniture or something. In this case, you were just leveraging your audience to sell coffee. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: And most people don't realize the importance of building a following like- Marcus Neto: ... was the importance of building a following like that, but I mean, it can be a powerful thing. Tim Gautreaux: Oh yeah. Marcus Neto: I mean, you started with a good client base just from the popup shops that you did and building the audience that you did. Tim Gautreaux: For sure. Marcus Neto: Yeah, it was cool. It's really cool. Now, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them? Tim Gautreaux: I would say choose something that you're passionate about. I know that's a very broad statement, but another way to word it would be, if you're going into business, you're starting a business. Do something that you would do every day, whether you got paid to do it or not. Marcus Neto: Sure. Tim Gautreaux: And I know that can be tough to find sometimes. But to follow that up, I would say, don't have a plan B. Just throw that idea out of the window of, "Well, I can always go back to my old job," or, "If it doesn't work out, I can make this adjustment." Because I think inevitably you'll find yourself in a circumstance where it's, you're up against the wall and you either- Marcus Neto: Every business has it. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Do or don't do. But it's, when you can break through that wall, it's really gratifying and reassuring to yourself to let you know that you're far more capable than what you think you are. Tim Gautreaux: And so seeing those phases in our business where again, to reference COVID, it's like, there were a lot of businesses that didn't make it out of that and for legitimate reasons. And I think when I look back on that year, there were a few times where I didn't think we were going to make it. And to see ourselves on the other side of it and how much we grew through those challenges, it was just simply because, number one, we enjoyed what we were doing and still do. And there was just no option to quit. Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, it's funny, because I don't think people realize that it's not unique to have those experiences where it's like, "Ah man, I don't know if I can do this anymore." It's like, once you've owned a business for a while, that becomes a somewhat regular occurrence. Tim Gautreaux: Oh, yeah. Marcus Neto: It's like, "Ah, I really just, I hate myself. I hate everything that I do. I hate the industry, I hate ..." But if you can find some glimmer of hope, then oftentimes it makes it easier to hang on. Marcus Neto: I would also just encourage people, you may not be able to find your coffee shop. But if you have a job or if you have a business or whatever, and you can look at it in a different way. Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: So for you, it wasn't just about the coffee, it was about building the community. Tim Gautreaux: That's it. Marcus Neto: But you can that in any number of ways. Tim Gautreaux: Absolutely. Marcus Neto: And so for me, it's not the advertising, it's the helping other business owners. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: So it's not ... I mean, you have just open your eyes and figure out a different way to look at things to get the satisfaction that you need out of the job to keep going. Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: So that's it. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Who's the one person that motivates you from the business world? And you can't say your dad, you can't say your grandfather, no brothers, no ... Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: This is like ... Tim Gautreaux: Gosh. I mean, I definitely feel like Claire and I both get inspiration from a lot of different outlets. Like you said, I love design, from graphic design to interior design. A hobby of mine is scrolling through Instagram at furniture and architectural, just different buildings and things that I'm like, "Wow, that's amazing." Marcus Neto: Yeah, we're building a house right now. And so my Instagram is all mid-century modern homes and furniture and stuff like that. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, yeah. Marcus Neto: So yeah, I get it. Tim Gautreaux: I mean, I'm a huge sports fan. So obviously there's a lot of correlation with just a mentality to succeed and continue to push yourself. Marcus Neto: You got to pick one, you got to answer the question. Tim Gautreaux: I grew up in the Jordan era, Michael Jordan. Marcus Neto: Michael Jordan. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. And I know that has nothing to do with coffee- Marcus Neto: No. Tim Gautreaux: ... but I think it's just a drive that you pick up on in certain individuals that obviously have a spotlight on them for winning and doing great things. And- Marcus Neto: Did you watch the documentary? Tim Gautreaux: Oh yeah. Marcus Neto: One of the best business documentaries you could probably ever watch. Tim Gautreaux: Totally. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Because I mean, you just don't realize until you see him in action, just how psychotic he was about winning. Tim Gautreaux: Right. Marcus Neto: In everything. Tim Gautreaux: And I think it is a mentality. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Tim Gautreaux: You see things that inspire you and it's birthed from either an individual or something that carries a consistent mentality of excellence. And really pushing yourself to the limit. So I know that doesn't explicitly answer your question, but I think that game- Marcus Neto: No, Michael Jordan is a perfect example. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. And even surrounding that, just- Marcus Neto: I mean, thinking about what ... His brand is synonymous with Nike and Adidas. You have Air Jordans that were first released, and I see the sneaker ads coming out. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, yeah. Marcus Neto: So you have Air Jordans that were released in the eighties that are being re-released now. And they're fetching $1,000 for a pair of black and red hi-tops. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: And it's insane. I mean, his brand is ... As far as a businessman goes- Tim Gautreaux: Right. Marcus Neto: ... he is so smart, it's not even fun. Tim Gautreaux: It's disrupted the norm. And I even, probably my number one hobby is playing golf and even seeing the Jordan brand infiltrate- Marcus Neto: In golf. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Like this staunchy ... Golf has to be proper and you have to wear certain attire. And then you see now in major championships, Bubba Watson or Pat Perez, they're rocking Jordans on the golf course. I think that's awesome. Yeah. Marcus Neto: I just don't see you golfing, man, because it is such a straight-laced thing and just like ... I don't know, I see you as a rebel. That's too funny. Tim Gautreaux: Rebel on the golf course. Marcus Neto: Yeah, there you go. Are there any books, podcasts, people, or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward? Tim Gautreaux: I mean, I think there were some pivotal books. I listened to a lot of podcasts. I'm a huge fan of NPR, This American Life is usually on if I have a commute or a drive. So anything in that brand. But I would say Jen Sincero's book, You're Badass, was huge for me. Marcus Neto: Really? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, it was huge. It was kind of referencing ... Growing up in the church world, it was one of the first books that I can remember not being a religious read, an inspirational leadership kind of tying back to church or religion. And then I guess the two books that I can think of both have profanity, but The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Marcus Neto: Not Giving a F*ck. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. There's just so much in there that expands your mindset and your thinking of, again, going back to the idea of having potential or greatness or doing something cool, even outside of your daily limitations that you set for yourself. Tim Gautreaux: Like having that routine, it's great to have a routine, but if you can constantly find yourself in a situation where you're stretching your way of thinking and seeing yourself win beyond that. I didn't even know I could do that, I just impressed myself or- Marcus Neto: I think that, and I'm going to try and find a name here before I get finished with this story. But I think that a lot of people, they misjudge just how much they're capable of. Tim Gautreaux: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Marcus Neto: So there's a book, 10X, that I highly recommend, by Grant Cardone. I think every person that's looking at being successful, I won't even say going into business, just being successful, should read that book. Grant is a highly prolific internet guy, so you've probably seen some stuff from him. But also he does a lot of investment in real estate and that's ... He made his money selling sales training for cars and stuff like that to dealerships. And now he's parlayed that into multifamily, large apartment complexes and stuff like that. Marcus Neto: But what I was going to say is that 10X is a great book, but I was watching a video and I can't find the guy's name. It was Ryan something and other, and he's a real estate agent out of New York City. And most people have seen him before because he does a show on cable TV. I forget, it's like a Most Expensive Houses in New York City or- Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: ... whatever these things are. Anyway, and he said, and he was giving a tour of his home. It was a penthouse in New York City and I think it was ... Just say it was $7 million. And he knew going into it that that was a lot of money. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: It's a huge amount of money. Maybe it was just a million dollars, whatever. But he knew that it was a lot of money and that that was going to stretch him, but he knew that he would never get there if he didn't put himself in the position and then allow himself to do the things that he needed to do in order to make that kind of money. Tim Gautreaux: Right. Marcus Neto: And so I just thought it was really interesting, especially for somebody that's currently going through the process of building a home. It's just, man, that's quite the position to put yourself in. I'm still trying to find this guy's name. It starts with an S, I can't believe I can't find it. There it is, Serhant, Ryan Serhant. Tim Gautreaux: Okay. Marcus Neto: If you get a chance, look him up on YouTube. He's got some really great videos just about business and life and stuff like that. Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: And that one video, it was just like, "Oh, okay," because I was thinking about things in a certain way, as far as how I wanted to accomplish, not just building a home or building BlueFish or whatever, because there are other business ventures that I'm going into. And I was thinking in a very serial mindset versus a parallel mindset. And so I've had to change that, and I'm still working through that, but very good stuff. Marcus Neto: What's the most important thing that you've learned about running a business? Tim Gautreaux: Authenticity. Marcus Neto: Okay. Tim Gautreaux: I mean, I think the word is so important to me because I feel like having a staff interacting with people daily, putting out a product that you're passionate about and waking up every single morning and doing that, I just don't ... I've come to the conclusion that if you can't be authentic in what you're doing and why you're doing it, people will pick up on that. Tim Gautreaux: One thing that I feel like Claire and I are very proud of, and even as we're expanding, we have the same team that we started with. Marcus Neto: Wow, really? Tim Gautreaux: And we've had some people come and go, but it's because college or one of our guys moved to Houston. Tim Gautreaux: ... College or one of our guys moved to Houston for a job and yeah, I mean, being in a smaller town like Mobile, I think it's something that our customers have come to appreciate where they walk in and it's like, we know their name and we know their drink and there's no... There's a stigma in coffee where it's like, oh, I like it when so-and-so makes it, but I'll order a different drink if this other person is working. Marcus Neto: It's so funny, because as you were talking, we go to Pour Baby and we go there and it's really the only place that I will have an alcoholic beverage. We just don't drink that much. But when we walk in, Ricky, the general manager of Pour Baby will make us an old fashioned. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: And it's amazing, but it also feels good because as I'm walking in, he's usually seeing the car pull into the parking lot and he's walking around the bar with the drinks. And there's just something that says something to somebody and regardless of whether it's a drink or coffee or whatever, when you're remembered when you go into place, that's a huge- Tim Gautreaux: Well, I think you have to want to do that, right? There's lots of ways to make money in terms of it being a job, whether or not you truly want to be there and it spills out of you as an authenticity like, oh man, so-and-so really loves their job. The byproducts of that, like we said, relationship, which invokes community and I think we say around the shop a lot, that a good customer experience in a good environment can make an okay cup of coffee taste even better. And so occasionally, I will read through our internet reviews and it has a lot to do with more of friendly barista, really great environment, whatever the setting is and then it's like, good cup of coffee. Tim Gautreaux: And we understand in that vein of authenticity that we're not going to be for everybody, but I think to have the drive and the focus be on who we are for, and obviously, leaving the door open for people that maybe they didn't like us when we first opened, but they found themselves in the shop and whatever the circumstances are, being true to who we are, being authentic, and letting that be just what motivates us to continue to really coffee business is day to day, right? It just feels like, I mean, I can talk about expansion. Marcus Neto: Hey Claire, did we get those in the store today? She gives you the thumbs up, you know you're good to go to work. Tim Gautreaux: I mean, I don't know that anybody in this industry ever knows for sure that people will come in just because you open the doors. There's still that question mark of, is anybody going to show up today? Marcus Neto: I'm pretty sure you're going to have clients every day. Now last question, and this is the hardest one, how do you like to unwind? Tim Gautreaux: I love bourbon. Yeah, I mean, I think- Marcus Neto: Let's re-record that and try not to put so much emphasis on love bourbon. No, I'm just playing. Tim Gautreaux: No, I mean, I appreciate it in the same vein as coffee. We've gotten into roasting this past year. Marcus Neto: What's your favorite bourbon? Tim Gautreaux: I think it varies. I don't want to, I'm trying to not be the cool kid and say the Buffalo Trace vein, which is you're familiar- Marcus Neto: Yeah, Pappy Van Winkle is my favorite. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Or George T. Stagg. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Actually George T. Stagg is my favorite. Pappy Van Winkle is probably a close second. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. So then, because you're familiar, I would argue and say that some of the Weller and even Eagle Rare, so like the cheaper, more entry, I think it's just a representation of what they do. They put everything into whether it's attainable by price or you hunted it down by chasing bourbon. Marcus Neto: Let's just be honest, because George T. Stagg is not available. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. And Pappy and even Colonel Taylor, they're harder to find and I think you cherish the moments that you have when you can drink that. I had a couple glasses of Lot B, 12 year Pappy, two nights ago. Great. So it's a hard question for me to answer as in like, what's my favorite? But I love everything. High West does really great. There's a seasonal rye that they put out called a Midwinter Night's Dram and it's a spinoff of Shakespeare. And so they do different scenes and acts and that one's gotten really hard to find. So yeah, I have a pretty cool bourbon collection. Marcus Neto: That's awesome. Tim Gautreaux: So maybe one day down the road we'll look into the evening drinks. Marcus Neto: There you go. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Yeah, I mean, I do have an appreciation for high-end spirits, because I think, whether it's a bourbon or tequila... Vodka, not so much, because you can get really good vodka, like $20, $30 a bottle. Tito's is excellent. Is there much difference between that and Grey Goose? I don't know. Tim Gautreaux: Sure. Marcus Neto: But, you go from a low end bottle of bourbon to a George T. Stagg or a Pappy Van Winkle or something like that, and there's a huge amount of- Tim Gautreaux: They give you an experience. Marcus Neto: It's a huge... And it's the, just for frame of reference, I mean, where it's $30 for a bottle for some of these lower end, you're paying $30 for a pour, if you can find it. Tim Gautreaux: If you can find it. Marcus Neto: And you'll gladly pay it when you do for a George T. Stagg or a Pappy Van Winkle. Tim Gautreaux: Totally. Marcus Neto: Yeah. So, well, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts? Actually tell people where they can find you first. Geez, I can't believe I almost forgot that. So, your location, website stuff, all that? Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. We are downtown Mobile in the CBD north of Dolphin Street. So 306 St. Anthony on the corner of St. Anthony and Claiborne. Marcus Neto: Right behind Innovation Portal, if you guys know where that is. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, Innovation Portal. We're right behind them. Some of our very consistent regulars. We love those guys. And we're on Instagram Nova underscore espresso, E-S-P-R-E-S-S-O, not EX. Marcus Neto: Yeah, it's not expresso. It's espresso. Tim Gautreaux: And that's, I would say, we're probably most active on Instagram or on Facebook. Marcus Neto: And the website is Novaespresso.com as well? Tim Gautreaux: Dot coffee. Marcus Neto: Dot coffee. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. Marcus Neto: Wow, fancy. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah, novaespresso.coffee. Marcus Neto: Yeah, that's funny. Tim Gautreaux: Yeah. I'd say one more plug would be that we roast in house now. That's a huge thing for us. We started that last June and we were expanding that business. We literally roast in our building with the super cool zero emissions roaster, and we just acquired a larger roaster, so what's been cool is we've expanded. We're in Pensacola, we're in Mississippi, Gulf shores. We have a subscription for coffee. So it's been really cool in a year to see, yes, we're boots on the ground making coffee for our face-to-face customers, but we've got people everywhere posting about what we're roasting. And so it's cool to share that experience. We're drinking it here in Mobile and then we have people in California, Philadelphia, Texas, people that are yeah. Marcus Neto: A year or so ago, because I drink coffee every day, but I don't drink as much as I used to because just like you, I found my upper limit. My afternoon cup of coffee gives me indigestion and I get heartburn horribly from it, so I just cut it out. Tim Gautreaux: Yep. Marcus Neto: I miss it, because I love coffee, but at the same time, it wasn't good for my health. But one of the things that I found was there's a website, I think it's like, gettrade.com or something along those lines and it's a subscription service for coffee and they take you through a process where they figure out how do you brew it? What do you like as far as flavors go? Do you like light, medium, dark roast? I like stronger caffeinated coffee, so I like light roast. Tim Gautreaux: Yep. Marcus Neto: But they ship it to you and I love the service, because it's a different coffee roaster [crosstalk 00:44:42] time that I get a bag of beans. So that's cool that you're offering subscription, because I think people really dig being able to support local roasters and all that stuff. Tim Gautreaux: Totally. Marcus Neto: Well, cool. I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you would like to share? Tim Gautreaux: Thanks for having me. Marcus Neto: Yeah. Tim Gautreaux: Hopefully we can do it again soon. Marcus Neto: It's been awesome catching up with you too. Tim Gautreaux: For sure. Marcus Neto: Well Tim, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It's been great talking with you. Tim Gautreaux: Appreciate it.
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