Estera P. Alvarado had the idea to open up a coffee shop for more than five years before setting her plan into motion. The result is SIPS + MAKER, a unique cafe located on New Dorp Lane. This shop has the laidback coffee shop aura, as well as a gift shop to purchase trinkets for amazing causes. This business is the embodiment of quality over quantity, as all of the coffee beans are organic and aged, carefully measured and timed for each drink. The espresso shots are taste tested throughout the day to ensure this quality. The coffee is sourced from Joe Coffee, a family business from Red Hook, Brooklyn, where quality is also a part of their marketing as they meticulously grind beans to perfection. The business has served all of NYC, and finally hit Staten Island with SIPS + Maker. Starbucks doesn’t even compare; with the large corporate company, quality is definitely not one of their main concerns.
The unparalleled gift shop in the back of the cafe is very inspirational. The market area has handmade items that support amazing causes such as jewelry made by human trafficking survivors from India, hand-knit items to support women in Bangladesh, and items from other various countries of the world such as Germany and Madagascar. All of the items are Fair Trade Certified, meaning that the craftsmen of the products all have safe and fair working conditions.
The whole concept for this store came from Estera’s observation that “Staten Island lacked many new and innovative shops compared to other boroughs.” By utilizing her 10 years of interior design/freelance experience, she can do many things other entrepreneurs cannot do themselves. For example, she doesn’t need her own contractor because she has usable knowledge about plumbing due to her previous employment. It was also while she worked as a freelancer that she realized that sometimes you don’t want to work at home, and because she often traveled to Manhattan for work, she saw the stark contrast between the coffee shops you could go in the city compared to Staten Island.
Estera put over 100 hours per week when she first opened her business, but even now after the struggle of trying to find employees with shared morals, she still works 70+ hours per week. Estera is also ambitiously hoping to open up 2 more locations, one on the North Shore and one on the South Shore. Make sure to stop by and #showyoursips!