Now you can find coffee on Jeweler’s Row, too. The corner of Sansom and 7th Street is the new home of Arterial Agents, which is serving up much more than a good cup of joe. The store brands itself not as a “coffeeshop” but a “coffee and shop,” offering a range of goodies from hard-to-find independent magazines to a range of nonperishable items from Philly’s own Green Aisle Grocery.
Owner Nick DeJulius took his inspiration came from businesses like Saturdays NYC in New York and United By Blue in Philadelphia that also combine coffee and shopping.“Retailing is moving towards mixed use,” he says. “Look at Urban Outfitters with Vetri. Stores are becoming more about the experience as shoppers move online.”
And what an experience it is. The design of the shop is a breath of fresh air in Center City, with its brightly colored Marimekko wallpaper and Scandinavian design elements. Even local graffiti artist Nero, known for his pastes of black cats around the city, has contributed to the shop’s quirky aesthetic.
“We follow him on Instagram and I reached out and said, ‘I think this is a great spot for one of your cats.’ Then he came around and did this beautiful custom canvas for us, too,” DeJulius says. “I almost cried. It was so sweet.”
Even Arterial Agents’ logo is a work of art. Created by The Heads of State in Old City, it appears to be a bleeding heart at first glance — but take another look, and you’ll realize it’s a cup of coffee. DeJulius needed a little push from his friends, however, before he was entirely convinced by it.
“It actually wasn’t the logo I originally picked,” he recalls. “I went up to New York for a weekend and I was at a party with friends and they were like, ‘This other one should be the logo.’ It’s sticky. You can draw it.”
By now you might be thinking, “This is all well and good but can Arterial Agents actually make a great cup of coffee?” The answer to that is a resounding yes and — gasp! It’s not La Colombe.
“We serve Ceremony Coffee from Annapolis, Maryland. I learned about it when I was the host at Serpico briefly. We wanted to try something new, and Philly has great roasters but we wanted to set ourselves apart,” DeJulius says.
Arterial Agents is also downright passionate about making sure every brew is just right. The staff arrives at 6:30 a.m. and by the time the shop opens at 7:30 a.m. during the week, they’ve sampled a lot of coffee. “We’re constantly tasting everything. I’d rather close for the day than put out a less than quality product,” DeJulius admits.
Finally, if you’re craving a morning pastry to accompany your iced soy latte, you’re in luck. They’ve got delicious selections from Kermit’s Bakeshoppe and Au Fournil.
Though it’s only been open for a few weeks, Arterial Agents has already has become quite popular with Washington Square residents. The key to their growing success?“People first, then coffee.”
Arterial Agents is located at 700 Sansom St.
For more info, visit: www.arterialagents.com.
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