Brigitte Whitaker has always loved coffee, especially No Name Java. Often buying the local brew by the pounds each week, Whitaker has no shame saying she was a "No Name Java junk head."
Taking her passion to a new level, Whitaker began to work No Name Java's stand at the Saturday Morning Market on a "work for coffee" basis.
When the owners of No Name told Whitaker they were interested in selling their quaint coffee shop on Central Avenue friends of Whitaker said she would be crazy to buy and run a business in a down economy.
But, how could Whitaker say no?
"It was 'No Name' after all," Whitaker said.
So in March 2012 Whitaker took over operation of No Name Java only to have the harsh world of owning your own business become a reality very quickly.
"Two weeks after I bought it, the property went for sale," Whitaker said. "I didn’t have the money to buy the property so we had to get out of November."
Distraught, depressed and confused, Whitaker could hardly take it all in. In the few short weeks of operating No Name Java she realized how important the coffee shop was to the community. The importance of communication and a neighborhood go hand-in-hand, she said.
Her customers were her family.
After having what she called a "pity-party", Whitaker said she was going to enjoy the last few months of her lease while searching for a new location for a coffee shop.
"I really wanted to mirror what I had (on Central) and there’s not that many places like that so it began to consume me and I began hating my coffee shop," Whitaker said. "And I said I don’t even know if I want to do this. This is all in like a matter of days. All my customers are freaking out and finally I realized, it's March and I don’t have to do anything until November. By September, if I don't have a new place, then I can freak out."
Then one fateful day, a patron of her store heard the shop was on the ropes and told Whitaker he was renovating a hotel in downtown St. Pete that had space for a coffee shop.
"Everything always happens for the best, even if it doesn't feel like it," she said.
In November 2012, Whitaker opened Brew D Licious, Purveyors of No Name Java, on the corner of 4th Avenue North and 4th Street in the Hollander Hotel.
"We carry No Name Java and only No Name Java," Whitaker said. "I’m a big proponent of only shopping local."
At Brew D Licious you can get locally made coffee, muffins, cakes, honey and bags of No Name Java coffee beans.
"I'm real particular about what I put in my shop," she added. "It has to be local and has to be damn good."
Since opening November Whitaker has seen many of her loyal customers from Central Avenue follow her to downtown.
"I love it because, magical things happen in my little store," she said. "People that come to my shop became like a little family."
Opening downtown Whitaker said it was great to bring a neighborhood feel to the area where she can connect with more people.
"You are surrounded by many neighborhoods here," she said. "We are so close to downtown. Five blocks from beach drive. We are a little bit out of the way, but it still keeps me local. I don’t fall into the touristy part of it. We need our locals year around. When tourists go away, who do you need? Locals."
Brew D Licious is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
For more information on Brew D Licious, 'like' them on Facebook.