When the Moka Pot opened at 42 Main St. in Antrim last November, the line of customers was out the door at 7 a.m. to enjoy green eggs and ham, deviled eggs, coffee, bagels and baked goods.
Eleven months later, co-owner Dan Redmond says business has been difficult. “The winter was a tough time to try to establish our footing,” he says, adding that the summer has seen business pick up, but it remains a challenge at every step.
The Moka Pot is owned by Redmond and his mother, Camille McLaughlin, a dietician at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Concord.
She and Dan are joined by her sons Brian and Evan Redmond, who fill a variety of duties at the coffee shop, as well as cafe manager Angelica Castro Andrade. While continuing to manage the cafe, Castro Andrade also works at two other restaurants.
“I am blessed to have the crew that I have, and we wouldn’t be able to keep going without the sacrifice of everyone involved,” Dan Redmond says, explaining that he also works in the Moka Pot’s kitchen but has taken jobs at other NH restaurants. “I learned that it’s so much harder than I ever imagined to run a business, and I find it incredibly challenging to juggle running the business and working my night jobs.”
Redmond says he would like to be successful enough to pay off the bank loan for the cafe and reinvest in the business to build a cocktail bar on the other side of the mill building where the cafe is located but that this is still in the planning stages. “Struggling to stay open for the past 10 months has made that goal feel so far away,” he says.
McLaughlin says she hopes the cafe will continue to be a place where people come to gather in the morning over a cup of coffee or—after the cocktail bar is built-—in the evening to relax with a cocktail.
The Moka Pot is finding ways to keep customers coming through the doors, including two psychic fairs, an open mic poetry night, and a story hour event with Avenue A. The cafe is focused on its seasonal menu items and works with many local vendors including the Bread Shed in Keene and Flag Leaf Bakery in Antrim, as well as coffee beans sourced from Mill City Roasting in Manchester. For more information, visit themokapot.com.