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Something Brewing

One local caffeine magnate is expanding the definition of a coffee shop.

THE DAILY GRIND
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters owner Phil Tadros seeks to build spaces where creativity can flourish.

Sure, Bow Truss Coffee Roasters owner Phil Tadros appreciates outstanding coffee. But his true love?

“Productive little spots where you can create,” he says. Too young at 19 to buy a bar, Tadros bought local gem Don’s Coffee Club, a move that marked his entry into a life of entrepreneurship and creative hubs (aka coffee shops). A couple of years later (in yet another shop), he started his marketing company, Doejo—a place that now helps launch companies and brands (clients include actor Jared Leto).

But today, Bow Truss is a focus. The first location opened in Lakeview three years ago, and the stylish business now has eight locations—seven in Chicago and one in Beverly Hills—plus a 14,000-square-foot roasting facility in West Town. Over the next 18 months, Tadros expects the total will hit 21.

It hasn’t exactly been easy. Initially, Tadros raised $300,000 to get the shop off the ground—but the difficulty in getting there inspired him to start fundedfoods.com, a site that allows small businesses with a fan base to accept loans from customers. “If you give customers the option to invest in their communities, they will,” he says.

Next up, he is bringing his game to the center of the city’s nightlife. There’s a new Bow Truss in Mariano Park, the iconic triangle surrounded by Gibsons and Tavern on Rush, among other well-known spots. Tadros hopes to collaborate with nearby restaurants to curate an ever-changing menu. Wholesale accounts like the Virgin Hotel and Whole Foods in Illinois are thriving.

He is, in short, being productive. “People who make things are happy,” he says. “People who are not making stuff are not happy. It’s all about creating.”

TADROS’ HOTS
Waking up early, Wunderpop, when his whole family is happy at once

TADROS’ NOTS
People who complain without trying to find a solution, long plane rides, negative assumers