Let’s meet at Colectivo at the Lake.
As OnMilwaukee.com first reported tonight, your morning Alterra Coffee is now Colectivo Coffee. Same great and strong coffee, same locally committed owners but a new chapter and situation for the Milwaukee-born and based coffee roaster.
The name change to Colectivo (co-lec-TEE-vo) was announced Sunday evening at a company wide staff meeting and celebration at The Pabst Theater in Downtown Milwaukee.
As I've written before, I’m an equal opportunity coffee drinker. I do my best to stop at different places every day, and love Stone Creek Coffee, Valentine, Anodyne, my local Starbucks and others. A rise in tides lifts all boats.
Yet, for several reasons Alterra has always had something special about it. Its founders are Milwaukee guys, its Prospect cafe helped shape the East Side and was our second home in the early days of OnMilwaukee.com. Its owners have given back, helped shape design guidelines and neighborhood development, and now are ready for the next chapter in their coffee lives. Plus, I love the baked oatmeal, smoothies and am a big fan of their T-shirts.
Now it is Colectivo. The cups and bags look similar – distinctive and design focused.
How will Milwaukee react to the name change? Employees at the Sunday staff meeting were surprised, but enthused. After the initial shock, I say we’ll all sip it in. Great coffee is great coffee, and honestly I think the new name is a bit cooler. Alterra, after all, also is the name of a senior living resources company. Colectivo calls out for community building and creativity. You’ll notice this right away with the new, yet old Colectivo bus.
As the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, Colectivo reflects where it is going as a company. Coffee is the cornerstone, but as any good coffee place will tell you, it’s about the customers. So, they were inspired on a trip to Latin America by the funky buses used for public transportation called colectivos. They are a big part of daily life there. And, here in Milwaukee, of course, coffee is a mainstay in most of our lives.
Today, with 13 cafes, Colectivo is Milwaukee’s largest coffee brand. It will be weird not seeing the Alterra name all over the city but with a new name comes new opportunities and once the old signs start coming down I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about the company’s next steps. First, I hear rumors about an auction for the old Alterra signage. And first up on the development front for Colectivo will complete its new Third Ward location.
What’s in a name? A lot. And with the Colectivo name, it’s still about strong, local, great coffee and community. See you in line at Colectivo, maybe I’ll even buy you cup sometime soon.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.