As City Marshal Visits Shuttered Storefront, The Bean Revs Up a Truck

cupcakeDaniel Maurer “Mosaic Man” Jim Power visits the Bean’s new truck.

About an hour ago this morning, a city marshal entered the storefront that until yesterday was home to The Bean. It will soon be occupied by a Starbucks. Across the way, on Third Street near First Avenue, the Bean’s manager Guy Puglia was selling drip coffee out of a rented cupcake truck that had been found on Craigslist. Mr. Puglia said the truck will stay here, or at least nearby (“it’s hard getting a parking spot in the same place every day in this neighborhood”) from about 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. daily, until the Bean’s new store opens a block south in about a month.

“We’re not doing this to make money,” said Mr. Puglia. “We’re getting killed.” Mr. Puglia would not disclose the price of the truck rental, but indicated it was “a good amount of money.” Still, by moving four wooden benches across the street and eventually setting up a wireless hotspot, he and owners Ike Escava and Sammy Cohen hope to remind customers that they’re still in the espresso business.

Actually, the truck won’t be serving espresso drinks until it’s outfitted with a stronger generator. For now, it’s drip coffee (with flavored coffees coming tomorrow), teas, and baked goods.

So will Mr. Puglia take it personally when Starbucks starts its build-out under his nose?

“There’s enough business that everyone can make a living,” he said. “It’s not a personal thing. I would just like to see them give jobs to people in the neighborhood, like we do. Other than that, they’re going to be part of the neighborhood. They’re here. There’s nothing you can do.”

As for the city marshal visiting the premises that had been cleaned out the night before, Mr. Puglia said it was just routine procedure. “The marshal came – I think there was a lawyer and someone from the building there, and that was it – we didn’t have to speak to them. There was no conversation.”