Brothers Wes and Issa Baiz have a history in business and sales consulting, so the two felt confident when they opened their first retail business, BeanBerry, this fall. The S. Main cafe is a trendy hybrid of a coffee shop, bubble tea shop, and ice cream parlor. “It was a concept that we had in mind for a while,” says Wes Baiz. He and Issa were walking downtown when they saw the storefront was for rent. “We decided to just go for it,” he says.
Baiz acknowledges that with “boba” establishments continuing to pop up all over town, bubble tea on its own might face a lot of competition, but the brothers have added a few twists that are new to the area, including “bubble waffle cones,” a Hong Kong-based treat. The cones, Baiz explains, are “kind of like an inverted waffle. You’ve got a regular waffle with square divots in it. Toss it out the other way and they become circular, like balls.” The final product is a photogenic bubbly cone wrapped around scoops of ice cream and a generous helping of toppings, held in place with its own paper cone. A rotating host of specialty signature cones include the “Wolverine,” which features blue ice cream topped with a yellow macaron, blue-iced cupcake, yellow lollipop, blue swizzle stick, and dusting of blue and yellow sprinkles. It’s a sight to behold.
According to Baiz, the store’s most popular item by far is actually a free perk–a “selfieccino” machine on the counter will copy any photo you upload to it onto the foam of your latte, using brown coffee extract. He says the machine could actually do color photos too, but he and Issa didn’t want to use the artificial food dyes required. Though the “Smart latte printer” BeanBerry uses sells online for $1,800, Baiz says he thinks they made the right decision to offer the machine’s services at no cost. “My favorite of when I’m there and I see people doing it is [that] there’s never a shortage of laughter,” he says. “That experience means everything.” Plus, he figures the machine has brought in a number of curious customers.
BeanBerry also offers standard coffee shop fare and a bubble tea menu similar to others around town. Unique to the store is the option for pure cane sugar, instead of the standard liquid sweetener in most bubble teas, and jumbo bamboo straws instead of the common multicolored plastic ones.
The large copper-covered counter was carried over from BeanBerry’s predecessor Oasis Cafe, which never reopened after its announcement of a hiatus last year. The brothers updated the rest of the interior to feature unassuming dark woods with navy blue accents and a “lounge” area with cloth chairs that sit low to the ground.
In the new year, the brothers will be looking into expanding the BeanBerry brand into multiple locations.
Beanberry, 305 S. Main (734) 929-2415. Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. facebook.com/BeanBerryCafe