I never thought I'd say this, but -- there's something kinda cool happening in Mesa.
Seemingly ceaseless light rail construction has provided Mesa shop owners with a creative challenge: How do small businesses stay competitive in an area dominated by road closures, jackhammering, and snorting digging machines?
Lo-Fi Coffee seems to have stumbled upon one solution to this problem. Rather than relying on foot traffic in the tar-scented clustercuss that is present day Main Street, Lo-Fi owner Sam Clark has set to work on a mobile "Eco-Bar." This will allow him to bring his cafe's hand-squeezed lemonade, cold-brewed tea and Xanadu coffee, and from-scratch Italian sodas to public events in the neighborhood, thereby extending his shop's reach.
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Sam's "Eco-Bar" is a simple concept: He can move it wherever he wants, and it doesn't rely on electricity. The former U.S. Marine and his partner (Xanadu Coffee Roaster Randy Denton) prefer a boots-on-the-ground approach to business ownership. Each has a long history of tinkering and building things; Sam recently helped rebuild the Trunk Space's coffee bar, and Randy has become Phoenix's go-to espresso repairman. Their cafe recently celebrated its third anniversary, despite the negative impact of ongoing construction.
Much of Lo-Fi's success can be attributed to the high fidelity relationships (sorry, had to) that they've cultivated with other local businesses. Lo-Fi certainly does not fit the Mesa stereotype. The shop's DIY spirit, general beardy-ness, and punk rock soundtrack set it apart in a town that no one pulled a muscle naming. But their presence at community events and commitment to the burgeoning downtown Mesa art scene show that Lo-Fi can simultaneously engender all that Mesa Isn't, while helping paint a better picture of what Mesa actually Is.
If you're interested in espresso or hot coffee, you'll still have to go to Lo-Fi's brick and mortar store. But if you happen to be at Motorcycles on Main on the first Friday of every month, or at the Second Friday Art Walk, or at the Third Friday Flash Park, or at the Mesa Community Farmers Market every Friday morning, be on the lookout for the roving Lo-Fi Eco-Bar.