I love coffee. We are old friends. My first remembrance of the liquid gold was on my Aunt Lize’s lap dipping my cookies in her coffee. I was five.
She and I would snuggle with a cup before anyone else got up and my visits with her were priceless. Slowly she allowed me to finish up the cup, crumbs included, and I was considered a “coffee drinker” by age six, thanks to her. The old adage that it stunts your growth was proven wrong, I’m almost six feet tall!
We, coffee and I, continue to begin each day together. Wherever and whenever the opportunity arises, I’ll stop for that latte or iced coffee, gladly. I may need a bumper sticker, “Will Brake for Coffee”.
You can imagine my delight as I arrived at Carlock Motorcars to do my Aston Martin photo shoot for the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, that SYPCOFFEE was located right there in the dealership. Many dealerships today have snacks and beverages for those waiting for service, car shopping, etc., but never have I seen one like SYPCOFFEE.
SYPCOFFEE was no run-of-the-mill pop-up, as I would soon find out, when I struck up a conversation with owner/founder Craig Margolius. Craig’s entry into the coffee foray has neither been simple nor without its share of challenges, but with the help of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, he has put in the work to make it successful for years to come.
Pouring one’s life into something, literally in Craig’s case, comes at a cost. Craig’s sacrifice was a career he loved at Nissan. Representing its luxury branch, Infiniti , Craig had enjoyed fulfilling days from east coast to west promoting the brand and touting its accolades to customers. He happily arrived at Nissan’s headquarters in Nashville, TN to continue his career.
The business plan he started formulating with little real intention years before for another dream career outside of automotive during his tenure at business school in Southern California, however, remained fresh in his mind.
How could he blend his love of cars and coffee?
Craig had always been conscious of the world around him and even named the dream early on, “SYPCOFFEE”, SYP an acronym for Savor. Your. Planet. His physician parents had instilled in him the desire to pursue what he loved even if it meant taking chances. When organic chemistry just wasn’t his passion at the University of Wisconsin, like his parents, his Dad encouraged him simply to do what he loved. Business was that passion and providence led him to land a job at Nissan/Infiniti, a dream come true. His dad had instilled a love of cars in him at a young age, making it a perfect fit.
Tragedy struck Craig’s family though, his Dad was diagnosed with Pick’s Disease, a form of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s but less common. Emotions, behavior, personality and language are areas of the brain affected by Pick’s, and is also considered the disorder frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Having suffered a similar loss to Craig’s, my father passed after a five year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The toll it takes on caregivers and/or family cuts deep, very deep.
Craig continued at Nissan/Infiniti until a short time after his Dad’s death, his mother was diagnosed with end Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and lived just two weeks rather than the three months he thought they would share. At diagnosis, Craig decided to leave Nissan/Infiniti to help care for her with his wife and sister through that journey – with the words of his parents resounding in his mind – do what you love, even if it means taking chances. He ended up pursuing a very scary proposition in making SYPCOFFEE a reality. What is the absolute worst that can happen?
“Its true that SYPCOFFEE is carefully roasted specialty coffeee, beautifully packaged and personalized just for you, but ultimately, its about resolutely earning your trust in confidently recognizing those special people in your life. In fact, memorialize the deeper purpose.” – Craig Margolius
Craig wrote the SYPCOFFEE manifesto first, which will always be inside each gift and ends with this:
“A Moment Is All It Takes
To Bring A Fresh Smile
Make A Gorgeous Day
Or Reinforce A Beautiful Life.
From personal tragedy to an online-only, gift experience via SYPCOFFEE.com, to now corporate gifting, wholesale and event services, SYPCOFFEE with the belief and support of so many, opened it’s proof of concept Gift Boutique inside Carlock Motorcars in Nashville, TN. Onsite, small batch roasting and complimentary sampling fosters a unique experience for Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus, Maserati and Rolls-Royce clients and also models of a certain age experiencing their first photo shoot. Meanwhile, SYPCOFFEE works hard to earn resolute trust in gifting.
We never know where life will lead. Our attitude and how we react to the curves it throws us becomes our legacy. The making of us and our effect on others, our community, and even the planet dictate our decisions and directions. Open minds and grateful hearts steer them ever forward.
To say that “Coffee Is Life” may have sounded simple at the beginning of this story, but now you know the big picture of how a deep-thinking, brave person, found himself living his best life through cars and coffee.
Craig, your parents are so proud of you.
Hear all of Craig’s story via the link to his podcast interview posted on sypcoffee.com
*This post was written by Jules Stayton and edited for content by Craig Margolius.