ELMHURST – For Elmhurst business owners Melissa Villanueva and Angelo Sepulveda, continually looking for new ways to expand the services and products they offer customers is just good practice.
The most recent initiative by the couple is a partnership with Tyton Games of Villa Park, which offers a board game night from 6 to 9 p.m. every Thursday.
Since opening in 2014, the Brewpoint Coffee Co. owners have worked to mold the business from a place to grab coffee to one where you can meet and make friends.
Villanueva and Sepulveda have made changes to adapt to their growing clientele, including expanding the square footage to increase capacity and adding a printer.
While the coffee shop already had a selection of board games available, Villanueva and Sepulveda saw an opportunity to unite gamers who may or may not know each other.
“Board games have been huge segue for us to build real community and real friendships, where instead of having small talk and running out, we play these games together and we connect through not just having fun but also through a story and a shared experience,” Villanueva said.
The aspect of community is very important to Villanueva. When she opened Brewpoint Coffee Co. she did it because coffee attracts people and conversation. Coffee for her was a vehicle to form a community.
As a result, Brewpoint hosts a variety of events sponsored by local organizations, such as the Elmhurst Public Library's Sip 'n' Stitch, a group dedicated to knitting and crocheting while drinking coffee or tea.
Additionally, Villanueva and Sepulveda have started renting out the coffee shop to people who need event space.
The owners say the idea of creating a board game night came naturally to them. Sepulveda has been a fan of board games for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that he started to share his interest with others.
“[Villanueva] and all the people we play with now laugh because they hear about how I used to buy a game and learn the rules so if I had the chance to play with people I could teach them,” Sepulveda said. “But I would always do it on my own, so they like to imagine me playing alone and sad.”
After Villanueva and Sepulveda began playing board games with their friends more frequently, they noticed an opportunity to make Brewpoint Coffee Co. a place for gamers.
Like many of their initiatives, Villanueva and Sepulveda sought out a partnership to officially establish board game night and found Tyton Games of Villa Park.
Every board game night will feature a new game, which representatives from Tyton Games will present and explain the rules. People can then try out the game and buy it if they like it.
The new partnership with a local business is just one of more than 10 that Villanueva and Sepulveda have already established.
“The small-business environment is tough, you have to put your all into it,” Villanueva said. “We very much feel for other small businesses, and we can probably do what we do better if we leverage each other.”