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By  – Senior Reporter, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Co. is planning a flagship cafe at Midtown Tampa — a splashy new location that its CEO sees as a way to reintroduce the brand to its hometown.

Joffrey’s has signed a lease for a 1,500-square-foot storefront at Midtown near the district’s central gathering space, known as Midtown Commons. It will serve coffee and tea but also beer and wine. CEO Ted Abrams said Joffrey’s will have exclusivity in Midtown — the dual-flag hotel, for example, won’t have its own coffee shops.

Joffrey’s is best known for its presence at Walt Disney World, where it operates more than 20 locations, including a large cafe in Disney Springs.

“You’ve got millions and millions of people seeing us there,” Abrams said of the company’s Disney locations, “and because we are a Tampa-based company, it makes sense now for us to take our brand and bring it back to our hometown. That was our impetus to come up with that flagship store.”

Abrams said he’d been thinking about a flagship cafe in Tampa for about two years. He was introduced to Bromley Cos., the New York-based developer of Midtown, through Brett Hutchens, president of CASTO Southeast Realty Services. CASTO is overseeing the retail development of Midtown.

Joffrey’s is slated to begin its interior buildout in October, Abrams said, when Bromley is scheduled to complete construction of the vanilla shell. He said basic drawings are in the works but he declined to identify a contractor, architect or disclose the total startup investment in the cafe.

“It will be something that is unique to the Tampa Bay market and representative of the quality Joffrey’s provides,” Abrams said.

Nicholas Haines, CEO of Bromley, said negotiations with Joffrey’s were underway well before the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to be a hub of activity — and not just for the retail users,” Haines told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “[Joffrey’s] is really important for the office, hotel and residential users. It embodies the kind of tenant that benefits from and contributes to the mixed-use dynamic.”

Joffrey’s will be bringing with it some of the tenets of Disney hospitality; Abrams said his company has had a relationship with the theme park giant since 1995. The Midtown location will include the Ripple machine, which can turn selfies and other uploaded images into latte art.

Abrams said it was Midtown’s central location, combined with the 24/7 nature of the project, that sold Joffrey’s on the idea. There are anchors Whole Foods Market Inc. and REI to drive foot traffic, but smaller shops should be a draw to Joffrey’s as well, like fitness studios with classes throughout the day.

“They have national brand recognition through Disney and, it was just a match made in heaven,” Haines said of Joffrey’s. “We had no shortage of interest from coffee operators.”

Haines compared the Joffrey’s flagship to chef Chris Ponte‘s new restaurant in Midtown, which has been in the works for several months.

“It goes very much in line with everything we’ve been trying to do,” Haines said, “which is to partner with someone who wants a flagship, unique location and that’s willing to invest.”

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