By Jillian Amodio
Since its debut in 2000, The Big Bean has been a favorite place for locals to grab a cup of coffee, a smoothie, or a sweet treat. The original Severna Park location is known for its one-of-a kind decor, friendly atmosphere, unique gifts, and gourmet goodies (including treats for four-legged friends). Owners Greg and Christie Coster recently announced the opening of their second location this spring.
The new location, at 888 Bestgate Road #110 in Annapolis, will include all of the café’s popular menu items, from the Breakfast Harvest Cookie to green protein smoothies, assortment of teas, coffees, vegan and gluten-free snacks. The new location will feature an expanded selection of nitro coffee and various cold brew options and a landscaped outdoor patio with outdoor seating.
With many businesses struggling to remain open during the pandemic, it may seem surprising to see a local business doing well enough to make a second location possible during these unprecedented times. A successful business transition during COVID didn’t come overnight, but the infrastructure did.
“When the executive order (to move to takeout only) was handed down in March, our business model at the time did not enable us to remain open,” says Greg. “We closed our doors on March 21. On March 22, I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and began building an online ordering portal for coffee beans and our locally made goodies. In 24 hours, despite exactly zero training in website development, our online ordering portal went live, and we were officially in the coffee bean delivery business.”
A few weeks in, the delivery side of the business was bringing in enough revenue that the Costers were able to bring staff back. The original storefront had been closed for a total of 70 days, but, they say, with the support of their loyal customers, the business survived.
“At the end of the day, it was the loyal Severna Park community, and the willingness of our incredible staff to adapt to change, that allowed us to pick up right where we left off,” Greg says.
The new location has a tragic past, being the site of the Capital Gazette murders in 2018. But the Costers say healing and hope will transform the space. “When we were first approached, we didn’t know how to react. We agreed to see the space, and over the next few days, we felt as though we were being drawn to this project,” says Greg. “Within days of our announcement, an unexpected thing happened. We were contacted by several victims’ families. Understandably, the emotions were raw as they shared stories, as well as ideas on how we may pay homage to the victims. To reach out to total strangers in regard to a traumatic event takes a great deal of strength. We were truly humbled. We will continue to keep these lines of communication open, and cannot wait to be a part of this community.”
Christie Coster says the expansion is thrilling for the couple and its fan base. “Above all things, we value community and coffee, and providing our customers with a home-away-from-home experience that they can depend on from their neighborhood coffee shop.”