It is no big secret that Conway-based Blue Sail coffee has had their eye on Little Rock for some time. The southern expansion is finally happening with a new spot downtown inside the new Technology Park at Main and Markham.
The Technology Park location will offer public access (no need to be a part of the Technology Park) with two seating areas.
“We are really excited about the move to Little Rock. I think it will open up a lot of opportunities for us,” Owner Kyle Tabor says. “It is really special because we get to add our roaster Andy Pickle who is a Little Rock native as a partner in this location. It is going to be great to watch him bring our coffee back to his hometown.”
The move should give Blue Sail a strong location and fill a void in that area of town for coffee. There are a few local coffee shops located in the River Market area, including a new one by fellow Conway coffee brand Zeteo (more on that later this week). However the downtown coffee scene is largely lacking considering the amount of daily workers in the area. Sufficient Grounds on Louisiana and Capital has long been the only real downtown coffee shop that has survived mostly because they are the only option, not because they can produce a good cup of coffee.
Blue Sail originally tried to add a downtown Little Rock location a little over a year ago through a partnership with Blue Canoe that ultimately didn’t go through (though the name synergy there would have been great). From there it became about waiting for the right opportunity.
“We obviously see an expansion into Little Rock as an important part of our overall brand, but we knew we had to wait on exactly the right opportunity,” Tabor explains. “We really want to be a strong part of the community in the same way that we have built our Conway locations. Being connected is just as important as serving quality coffee.”
Blue Sail started the Conway local coffee movement with their original downtown location in 2014. It has since inspired a couple of local coffee shops in the area. This past fall Blue Sail opened their second location in Midtown Conway on the UCA campus.
The Little Rock Blue Sail location will focus primarily on coffee, using the same coffee set up as their Midtown Conway location. Due to the lack of kitchen space, they are looking to partner with local spots like Honey Pies to provide food items for the spot.
Tabor says construction on the space going well and hopes to open in March.