Lenox Coffee Looks for Success Where Others Have Failed

Lenox Coffee Looks for Success Where Others Have Failed

January 12, 2012 8:24am | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

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College roommates Aaron Baird and Jeffrey Green are both real estate agents and musicians. In December, they added coffee shop owner to their resumes when they opened Lenox Coffee on 129th Street. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

HARLEM — When Aaron Baird spoke in July with a real estate friend about an empty space on Lenox Avenue, he had no idea he’d soon realize a longtime goal — to open a spot where people could sip coffee and relax.

Baird told college roommate Jeff Green about the location at 60 West 129th St., and, after some brainstorming sessions and a brief renovation, Lenox Coffee was born.

“It just happened,” said Baird, 31, a musician who now lives in Brooklyn. “When I lived in Harlem, I never found a cool place just to hang out. I wanted a place where people could bring their laptop and just hang out all day.”

With the addition of specialty coffee from the 49th Parallel in Vancouver, British Columbia, and an interior design that Baird calls “shipwreck chic,” the pair think they have a recipe for success.

Green, 29, said they are excited about the cafe’s potential — in spite of the odds that saw two area coffee shops close in the last couple years. La Perle Noir Cafe on Lenox Avenue and 131st Street shut down in May 2011 and was replaced by an Island Salad. Tasty News, which was located across the street, closed in 2010.

Lenox Coffee is three blocks from Marcus Samuelsson‘s Red Rooster Harlem and across the street from The Lenox condos. Red Rooster has attracted new diners to the area and The Lenox supplies a regular stream of customers to surrounding businesses. Both Green and Baird think that Lenox Avenue has the potential to compete with the restaurants and bars that have sprung up on lower Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

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