There are some new faces at an established business this spring: joe coffee has been recently purchased by three friends (Mark Shaw, Peter McBrien, and Glenn Siegmund), known collectively as MPG. And for them, it’s literally a dream come true. They vacationed in Provincetown for over twenty years, and, as Glenn Siegmund explains, “We’ve been enjoying joe coffee for years, not only for the excellent coffee but as a place to spend time with friends, to people-watch, to soak up the sun… And we really did dream about owning it! We spent hours talking about what we’d keep the same, how we’d add in our personal brand. We finally approached the original owner, Scott, in 2017, asking if he would ever sell. To our chagrin, he said he’d just sold it two weeks before! We thought our shot at joe coffee was over. But then this past summer we began talking with Tom and Jimmy, the present owners, and to our surprise and delight they agreed to sell us the café.”
It seems fitting that joe coffee should go to people who truly love and appreciate the establishment, its products, and its vibe. And these three share a long history, so will work well together to run their new venture. Mark Shaw and Glenn Siegmund met in 1986 during their first year out of college; Peter McBrien met them in 1998 and together they formed their association, MPG—Mark, Peter, and Glenn.
The three owners plan to have a very hands-on operation and presence. Glenn—the only one of the three currently living year-round in Ptown—will be the onsite general manager, and focus on sales, marketing, staffing, community engagement, and public relations; Mark will be the head of operations and spend most of his weekends and vacation time from his corporate job in Ptown; and Peter, who owns a second home in Provincetown, will focus on financial and risk management and be onsite most weekends in season and during his vacation.
MPG are exploring what has come to be known as the “third wave” of coffee, a movement to produce high-quality coffee that considers coffee an artisanal foodstuff—like wine—rather than a commodity. The story behind the cup becomes a focal point. There is a growing awareness of how origins, farming, methods, and processing affect the flavor of coffee. Quality transparency and maintaining human relationships throughout the entire supply chain become key to creating that perfect cup of joe.
Consistent with third-wave tradition, barista skills and customer experience and education are also priorities. The role of the barista is elevated, and MPG’s goal is to employ baristas with skill and expertise who share their coffee knowledge with Joe coffee’s customers, telling them the multi-layered stories behind the coffee beans.
All three friends are clearly committed to the community. Glenn retired in 2018, just in time to start volunteering in the fall with SKIP. Mark and Peter are equally excited about becoming part of Provincetown through volunteerism and leveraging their corporate experience to support others as they increase their presence in the community. Mark’s long experience with and commitment to a nonprofit organization in Connecticut will stand him in good stead here as he brings his experience to bear in creating events for the community that will center around the café. Peter has had a second home in Provincetown since 2014 and is now looking forward to participating more fully in the community.
How can they do it, when none of them has a background in the coffee industry? By listening and learning. Even before the joe coffee purchase, they were educating themselves about the kind of café they would run if ever they had the opportunity; and now that they do, they are continuing the learning process through working with their existing, talented, and insightful employees. They are open to hearing what the community wants and are committed to keeping engaged with and attentive to it.
Watch for the grand opening of the new joe coffee in the spring, and be sure to stop by, say hello to the new owners, and greet your familiar baristas!