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Brewed For Success: The Brighton Coffeehouse Story

Words by Abbie Dyer on Oct 1, 2019 2:13:51 PM

It’s a sunny afternoon and the warmth in the air follows you when you enter the brick building. A Frank Sinatra tune fills the room and familiar faces greet you by name. As you wait in anticipation for your drink, the bold scent of fresh brewed coffee embraces you. Toward the back of the room, a small stage beckons for its next performer to showcase their talents to the world. You’ve never felt more at home in a public space.

Welcome to the new Brighton Coffeehouse and Theater1, located right on Main Street in Brighton, Michigan. Despite only being open for a short time, this small business is already a hit among locals and has been rated one of the top coffee shops in Michigan on Facebook.

Marcus, the owner and Lake Trust business member, started his venture after operating out of a small coffee cart at the Brighton Farmer’s Market for several years. When he acquired the old bank building on Main Street, he decided that the great coffee wouldn’t be the only thing that would draw people back again and again.

Getting Started

Marcus is no stranger to the coffee business. His obsession with the caffeinated beverage started in his youth when he traveled to Europe and experienced the unique coffee culture for the first time. Upon returning back to his home in California, he founded the successful Espresso Royale coffee chain and opened new franchises along the West Coast.

When Marcus moved to Michigan several years later, he brought Espresso Royale with him and opened another store in Ann Arbor. But he wanted to do something different in Brighton, the city he called home.

All The World’s A (Coffeehouse) Stage

A passion for the performing arts runs deep in Marcus’ family. His wife directs the local high school theater program and his daughter is an aspiring actress. In his heightened awareness of the theater scene, Marcus noticed something: Other than the high school, Brighton was one of the only cities in the area that did not have a local theater. So, he decided to combine his passion for coffee and serve the performing arts community too. 

Marcus, like most business owners, was nervous about sharing his business idea with city residents. What if the coffeehouse didn’t get as much foot traffic as he anticipated? Would anyone use the stage? His worries quickly subsided on opening day as he opened the doors to a crowd of people who were lined up to get a taste of Brighton’s newest café.  

And they weren’t disappointed.

  • BCAT2

    Coffee For Good. Marcus only purchases specialty coffee from producers who empower their workers and pay them a fair wage. 

  • BCAT1

    Dream Come True. Marcus wanted the Brighton Coffeehouse to serve as a community center and a place to enjoy specialty coffee.

  • BCAT3

    Space To Relax. Whether you're catching up on your email or grabbing a seat to catch a show, the coffeehouse is the perfect place to unwind. 

  • BCAT-4

    Building Success. Marcus recently won a 2019 Elevate Grant, which helped with the costs of building an outdoor patio.

  • BCAT-5

    Dine In. Besides coffee, customers can enjoy fresh pastries baked each morning and lunch sandwiches inspired by Shakespeare characters.

  • BCAT-6

    We Like You A Latte. Baristas Matthew and Scout each have their own style of latte art that they create for customers. 

Elevated Success


Marcus is very conscious about where he purchases coffee, as he only works with organizations who pay farmers fairly and who practice eco-friendly farming. To learn more about the coffee sold at the café, Marcus’ son even traveled to Africa earlier this year to meet local farmers and learn more about how they produce specialty coffee.


This dedication to true quality caught the attention of our Commercial Services Team and we were proud to recommend him for the 2019 Elevate Grant1 offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Indianapolis. The Elevate Grant was created to give small businesses a boost and create a positive impact on local communities.


Marcus shared that he was interested in building a patio space behind the coffeehouse that overlooked the newly finished amphitheater on Mill Pond. He thought the patio would add more curb appeal to the park while also providing an outdoor space where customers could relax.


Marcus recently learned that he won the $25,000 grant. We couldn’t be more excited for him and the new addition to his business.


Community Connection


Today the coffeehouse is bustling each day as people meet for lunch or spend time with friends and play board games. The staff has fun creating new drinks and working on their latte art at the delight of customers. Several nights each week, the stage is graced with theatrical productions, comedic acts, author book signings, charity events, live music, and more. It’s clear that the community has found a valuable place to connect.


And Marcus feels this connection too. When there’s an event at Brighton Coffeehouse, he often stands at the back of the room and looks out in the crowd.


“At that moment, I have a lot of pride in what we’ve done. I wanted to make a community place,” he says. “And it’s exactly how I imagined.”



SEE ALSO: The Ride To Creating A Well-Loved Business At Hometown Bicycles Finding A Home With Momentum Construction

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