How did you start Superior Merchandise, your shop & cafe in Troy, NY?
Ahhhh you want the long or short version? Haha, my ultimate dream post college was to eventually open up a small curated retail shop with a design studio in the back so I could just work there all day as a designer / shop keeper. This idea grew tenfold when I met my partner Mike in 2011. He was just getting into specialty coffee as a hobby and we traveled a lot together visiting the best coffee shops and retail spots and restaurants and came to the conclusion we wanted to create a special little place in our community that encompassed little bits of all the things we loved. We bought (naively) a building from the city of Troy that was set to be demolished and began a 2 year journey of bringing it back to life. I’m happy and thankful and lucky to say that our building and biz has been full of life for the past six years, expanding and evolving along the way. Our most recent project being a new lil late night natural wine program on the weekends called Wine Time!
Tell us about how you launched Touchy Coffee Roasters!
When we opened Superior Merch we knew we needed to bring on the best of the best to run our coffee program, because although we had fallen in love with the coffee world we didn’t really have the knowledge and skill to back that up with. We found that and more in Matthew Loiacono, who we were introduced to through a mutual friend. Matthew became our director of coffee and vocalized to us right away that his ultimate dream was to run his own coffee roastery. Wheels started churning immediately and by 2018 we were searching for the perfect space and trying very very hard to think of the perfect name for this project. Touchy Coffee was born from the idea that there are SO many hands that touch and play a part in the life of these little beans before they reach your cup. Matthew instilled in me from the beginning the idea that coffee is not just this commodity beverage that so many people treat it as. It’s special, a miracle even. Anyway, Touchy Coffee now has its own roasting space here in Troy, with a growing number of retail partners throughout New York (and the country), as well as a cafe component set to open this spring!
What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?
My favorite part of the creative community I’m a part of is the vast number of ways folks are being creative! Creativity shows up in so many forms. A friend recycling vintage textiles into patchwork totes and stuffed teddy bears. Another florist friend making a giant puffy cloud of baby’s breath to hang from the ceiling at a wedding ceremony. Our local Kombucha brewery, Yesfolk, utilizes unexpected and thoughtful herb blends in their bevs. Glassblowers and farmers and painters and so much more. It makes me feel warm just thinking about how much creativity is pulsing around me all the time.
What's inspiring you right now?
So much always!!! But most recently: the colors and textures of the changing season, drawing connections between the coffee and natural wine worlds, watching a team crush a rush with smiles and grace (most recently witnessed at the new La Cabra in NYC and Lil Deb’s Oasis in Hudson. I’m obsessed with watching the intricacies of service flow, color palettes from Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Yumi Sakugawa’s Instagram posts, 70’s and 80’s interior design (I’m currently renovating my dream home in the woods!!!!), the idea of getting to know yourself and starting to like new things (I recently went to a Knicks game and I felt ALIVE!!!!)
@superior_merch on Instagram
@missfelic on Instagram