We’ve been working with Carter Donnell since he started Daily Goods as a small concession in the now closed Kinoko Cycles some two years ago. The little Soho concession we blogged about shut doors in Golden Square last June and re-opened as a much more substantial cafe across the river in Camberwell, South London. We dropped by Daily Goods to catch up with Carter and ask a few questions about the changes and what it's been like over the last year:
So how did you first get introduced into coffee? Where did you work before setting up Daily Goods?
I grew up in a small town in Idaho and like normal, small town American life there was always a pot of coffee at home - coffee was always there noon and night. I didn't think anything of it until I was watching my favourite skateboarder on a video, he was drinking a cup of coffee while waiting for a train in New York. I emulated him in every other way so I knew I had to start drinking coffee.
My first job in coffee was at Starbucks and, ironically, it was there I actually learnt that coffee could be something other than a caramel syrup-filled slushy drink! On my first day they made me cup the two coffees they were currently serving: a Colombian and an Ethiopian. When I tried the Ethiopian against the Colombian I couldn't believe that you could taste actual flavours, different flavours, from coffee without adding anything to them!
From there, using the sweet deal of being able to work at any Starbucks, I left Idaho and headed to the East Coast. Settling in Philadelphia for a year, I took every opportunity to travel to Manhattan on the bus. Discovering the guys at Ninth Street Espresso on 13th St. in New York (now Everyman Espresso) was a revelation; no syrups, no blender, no sandwiches, just great coffee! I set about convincing them I wasn't a brainwashed Starbucks barista, was willing to forget everything I was taught and learn it their way if they gave me the opportunity. I worked at Ninth St. for three years, learnt a great deal about coffee and loved that job so much!
Afterwards I moved to London and worked at some great places like Milk Bar, Store Street Espresso and Embassy East. After a while however, I knew it was time I set out to do my own thing and try to create what I missed most about working in New York, the neighbourhood feel. I wasn't able to fund anything standalone on my own so found a stepping stone in Kinoko Cycles. I rented a small corner of the cycle shop in Soho and traded there for a year.
What's it been like going from a one-man band to being the owner-operator of a whole team?
Oh man! I would be lying if I said it was easy. I had no idea how much work it would be. Trading from a small counter on my own everyday for a year was easy enough; I knew what I needed to do and how to do it and had no one to answer to or look after, except for the customers of course. Opening in Camberwell has been a rewarding challenge; I now have five employees who I have to make sure get paid, get breaks and have fun while working. That is an amazing feeling but also a lot of responsibility!
Nowadays I do a lot more managerial work but when I leave the office and see the cafe full of regulars and my crew behind the counter serving these people and knowing them on a first name basis, ultimately building more of our community in Camberwell, I can't help but be happy with what Daily Goods has become, even if I am behind the counter less myself.
Do you ever miss the little bar at Kinoko Cycles?
No, not at all. I didn't like being in someone else's space and being held to their guidelines. It was an amazing opportunity and I can't forget that, but I'm much more happy here in Camberwell.
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It’s always the greatest of pleasures to see our Wholesale Partner’s grow and develop. While some go on to open second shops or do major refurbishments, others like Daily Goods go from small establishments to being much bigger cafés that form the hub of a community.
So, if you do find yourself in Camberwell, you know where to go for a great Cult of Done Espresso or a filter coffee served from the Fetco batch brewer. We can’t wait to see what Carter and his team have planned next and look forward to helping out where we can, as Daily Goods continues to grow and develop in the coming years.
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36 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8QZ
Mon to Friday – 7.30am to 6.30pm
Saturday - 9.30am to 5.30pm
Sunday - 10am to 5pm