‘Building a community around coffee:’ OpenDoor Coffee opens drive-thru location in Genoa

GENOA – OpenDoor Coffee in Genoa has opened its doors on its first physical location.

OpenDoor Coffee, 502 W. Main St. in Genoa, is now open for drive-thru orders 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The drive-thru becomes a walk-up on Saturdays and is open for customers’ walk-up orders 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The hours will be updated and expanded soon.

Owners Stephanie and Nick Bradac had the idea for OpenDoor Coffee in 2018.

“Our heart has always been to create a gathering space in the community,” Stephanie Bradac said.

“We thought about it, we prayed about it, we asked the Lord, and we decided to go the mobile route,” Nick Bradac said.

In March 2018, the married couple found a vegetable truck from a farmer in Woodstock and gutted it to become a mobile coffee truck. The mobile coffee truck was launched June 10, 2019.

In February 2020, the Bradacs purchased the future physical site of their coffee shop, 502 W. Main St. in Genoa. They operated the mobile coffee truck last year at events and festivals, including the DeKalb Farmers Market, while renovating the building.

By the fall or winter, the couple plans to open the interior of the coffee shop and add an outside patio. By 2022, they plan to build an addition to the front room with a fireplace.

Although neither Stephanie or Nick are originally from Genoa – Stephanie is from Seattle, Washington and Nick is from the Chicago area – the two fell in love with the city. They live in Genoa with their four sons, ages 9, 7, 5 and 3.

“Genoa has its own charm; it’s very authentic,” Nick Bradac said. “And as much as we love this town, the people are what make it unique, what make it special.”

“We realized there was no family-friendly meeting place in town, and we wanted people to gather in Genoa and to highlight what an amazing place it is,” Stephanie Bradac said. “Yes, we serve amazing coffee, but what’s important is making people feel like they matter. We say, ‘We like coffee, but we love people.’ People are the priority for us.”

“It’s all about making a connection with people,” Nick Bradac said. “We don’t have a callbox, we have a window. On Saturdays, we have a walk-up window where people can stroll up, order and chat.”

Although the couple tout the community-mindedness of their business, customers say they keep coming back for the coffee. The drink menu includes specialty espresso drinks, cold brew-based drinks, flavored iced teas and lemonades and Italian sodas. OpenDoor Coffee also sells baked goods daily and sells breakfast burritos from Rivers Mexican Cantina on Saturdays.

The business will soon add a full brunch menu with grab-and-go salads, smoothies and refreshers. Once the interior is open, OpenDoor Coffee will expand to become a café with sandwiches and soups.

Jen Miller of Sycamore has followed OpenDoor Coffee since the business’ beginning. In the past, she has often traveled to the coffee truck’s mobile locations. She now visits the drive-thru every day in the summer. She orders a caramel cold brew that has been nicknamed “The Jen.”

“The coffee is the best cold brew I’ve ever had,” Miller said. “But what makes me keep coming back are the owners and their story. To see their journey through the years has been really inspiring. They’re building a community around coffee. I can’t wait to hang out inside the coffee shop with others.”

Mason Morton of Genoa is also a repeat customer and has visited the coffee shop at least three times.

“What I like about their coffee is that it’s very natural and not artificial tasting at all,” Morton said. “The coffee is probably the freshest I’ve ever had. I love it, and I’ll definitely keep coming back.”

Stephanie Bradac said that having customers return – and having them return with family and friends, transforming the coffee shop into a community meeting and gathering space – is the business’ goal.

The goal of the coffee shop being a community gathering place is also included in the business’ name. OpenDoor Coffee gets its name from Bible verse Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

“We want everyone to feel welcome, to feel like the door is open to them,” Stephanie Bradac said. “You need to find that treasure, your goal and continue to follow your dreams.”

The couple also has advice for other dreamers.

“Start small and grow slow,” Nick Bradac said. “You can shoot for the moon, just make sure you take the time to build the right rocket ship. We want to be an encouragement and a challenge to other small businesses to do what they do as well as they can.”

“Dreamers are our kind of people,” Stephanie Bradac said. “Dream big, go for it. If you’re passionate about it, just keep moving. Help create a community where people build each other up, be the positive encouragement, the light for others.”

For more information about OpenDoor Coffee, visit the business’ Facebook page.