ICYMI, two of Charlotte’s most popular coffee shops, Not Just Coffee and Undercurrent, teamed up with the goal of opening a roastery and four cafés together. Well, today marks the opening of the third location, at One Wells Fargo Center.
- And the Night Swim now has a date for the opening of the roastery at 4500 Pineville Road — February 26.
The big picture: NJC and Undercurrent have combined their expertise and success here in Charlotte to build a coffee brand that can be scaled beyond the city. “To grow, you need a bigger team,” says Miracle Yoder, co-owner of NJC.
- Beyond the name and the coffee beans, the atmosphere of new cafés aims to be an elevated version of the hip Brooklyn-coffee-shop feel at existing NJC and Undercurrent locations.
- The two Undercurrent locations and six NJC locations will remain the same except they’ll now serve Night Swim coffee versus Counter Culture at NJC and Onyx at Undercurrent.
Background: NJC’s Miracle and James Yoder and Undercurrent’s Todd and Erin Huber have been friends for years and put this plan into motion before the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, both couples took a step back to focus on keeping their respective businesses afloat through months of closures. “There were definitely days when we were like ‘this is it, we’re folding it,'” James says.
As their shops began to open back up, the Hubers and Yoders turned their attention back to the roastery, secured leases and began blind coffee testing to narrow in on the menu.
The name: Landing on the new brand name of Night Swim was one of the hardest parts of the process, James tells me because both couples and owners love their years-old legacy brands. They eventually landed on Night Swim because they wanted something that felt nostalgic, Todd says, and creates a sense of adventure and fun.
Go deeper: The coffee roasting market tends to be less volatile than the retail business because roasters can sell direct-to-consumer online and generate more consistent revenue from grocery stores.
- In general, shops that roasted their coffee in-house fared better during the pandemic.
What’s next: Once the roastery cafe opens on February 26, the Yoders and Hubers will own a total of 12 coffee shops in Charlotte. Despite that, they tell me the market is still “undersaturated.”
“The greater Charlotte market could even use more,” Todd says.
Editor’s note: This article was first published in March 2021 and last updated on January 21, 2022 to include new opening details.