An Interview With Warsaw Coffee Company’s Scott Ojeda

Owners, Scott Ojeda and Blaise McMackin, founded Warsaw Coffee Company with more in mind than coffee. It’s a meeting place with conference rooms available for rent, a restaurant/bakery, a local art exhibit, a beer & wine bar, and the beginning of a revitalizing neighborhood. We met up with founding partner, Scott Ojeda, this past afternoon to discuss the successes of Warsaw Coffee Company, as well as, capturing a peek into his personal life! Alternative Constructors polished Warsaw Coffee Company’s concrete floors, fabricated and installed its main concrete countertop bar, and painted some interior walls.

 

_Where are you from originally?

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. But grew up in Nokomis, Florida.

 

_Favorite subject in high school?

English. I liked creative writing.

 

_How do you spend your non-work life (when there is room for it)?

*chuckles* My life is Warsaw and my dogs: Annie & Bailey.

 

_What did you do before finding Warsaw Coffee Company?

I was in wireless telecommunications for 17 years.

 

_We heard you won The Boca Design Magazine Architectural Design Award for 2015, congrats! What was the most important feature to include in designing Warsaw Coffee Company?

I don’t really think there was one thing. The lighting was really important because we were working with such a big open space, but I’d have to say the flooring and main countertop were just as important. The lighting, flooring, and countertop all really tie together to create our warm, comfortable space. I really tried to stick to my gut and vision in all the design choices. If anyone besides Blaise can be credited for influencing our design it would be Derek. He had a lot to do with the Warsaw you see today.

 

_Name one thing Warsaw Coffee Company couldn’t survive without!

Our staff is what makes Warsaw! Our space is cool, inviting, and not like anything in Fort Lauderdale, but without the warm vibe that our team projects we would be nothing. And of course…. Coffee!

 

_What’s the next step for Warsaw Coffee Company?

Refining our craft. We strive for excellence and want to ensure Warsaw stays top-notch. Since we’re a fairly new to the neighborhood, we want to further build the community around the store. Expansion is definitely in the horizon, just not the near future. Something more immediate coming up for Warsaw is our Party in the Drive Thru! event this Friday, July 31st @ 7:00pm! There will be live games, live music, food, drinks, and of course coffee.

 

_Best part of owning a restaurant is…

Seeing people come in, grab a cup of coffee or beer, and actually talk to each other. It is very rewarding to see happy customers and to hear feedback. We have a lot of our neighbors and a lot of people in the area who thank us for taking the chance and coming into this neighborhood and really turning it around.

 

_What’s your favorite beverage or food on the menu?

The cold brew… I have a little bit of a problem with the cold brew. And favorite food item will have to be the avocado toast.

 

_We liked that you picked us, really we do, but why?

Because of Derek. He’s worked with Blaise, my business partner, in the past (Tap 42 Fort Lauderdale, Tap 42 Boca Raton, and personal residential work); so I trust Derek. I mean, he (and Alternative Constructors) saved us right before we opened. When one of our other contractors bailed on us, he came in and saved the day. I can’t say enough good things about Alternative Constructors.

The Organizer Behind Alternative Constructors: An Interview With Dana Shambora

_I’ve been told you’re the behind the scenes person. The one that gets things done. I’m sure you wear a lot of hats here, but what are some of them?

I’m their mother [laughs]. I keep them organized in addition to doing all the billing, accounting, book keeping, customer relations here at the office, invoicing, and purchasing. I keep them on track.

 

_On any given day, what’s the best part about working at AC?

It’s a great environment, we produce these awesome pieces – (that I don’t always get to see). But it’s nice to know that we do such awesome work.

 

_Favorite subject in high school?

I used to love to read, so I guess English.

 

_What’s your guilty pleasure?

I don’t know. I like wine.

 

_Proudest moment with AC?

Seeing the guys complete this huge job that they didn’t know how we were going to get it done.

 

_How do you spend your non work life (when there’s room for it)?

Usually with my boyfriend. We like cooking, going to new restaurants, having dinner parties and spending time with family / friends.

 

_Quick… favorite pizza topping?

I love all pizza toppings. Pizza’s one of my favorite foods. Usually I just get cheese, otherwise I my second most usual order is vegetable.

 

_What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in the last 10 years?

Quitting a job to work with Derek at Eco Simplista.

 

_1 thing on your bucket list?

I have a long bucket list. My boyfriend and I made one together and it has like 100 things on it. This is not really on my bucket list, but I want to do it for my boyfriend because he’s never been- I want to go with him to NYC and us have the most awesome experience because he’s never gone and I grew up there when I was little. (We are going in July)

 

_This is still my favorite question. How do you like working with your brother?

I like working with Derek a lot because A) we’re not on top of each other so we both have different roles. I’m here [at the Eco Simplista Retail Store] and he’s out. If we’re on top of each other we start to bicker. But I like that we do different things for the business. And B) we’re both very different so I think we complement each other working wise.

 

_Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Running a multi-million dollar company.

 

_The zombie apocalypse is finally here. Weapon of choice?

I don’t watch scary movies, so I don’t know anything about them! But what do I need to know, I would have my brother and boyfriend to protect me.

The Heart Behind Alternative Constructors: An Interview with Derek Shambora

_Obviously you’ve been here from the beginning, you help co-founded Alternative Constructors, what role do you play now in the AC crew?

I like to open up new doors for the company and close our big deals.

 

_What got you into the contracting/construction business in the first place?

It was out of necessity from day one. I saw a need for the market and as I started working with contractors through Eco Simplista, I started seeing a lack of loyalty towards healthier building materials in South Florida and I thought that doing something different in the construction world would set us apart from everybody else.

 

_Where are you originally from?

I was born in New York but I moved here when I was 4. So I’m pretty much from here (South Florida).

 

_What was your favorite subject in high school?

English or swimming [laughs].

 

_Proudest moment since working with AC?

When I was able to get my hands off of doing the labor myself and be able to step back and build a team of guys who we spent years training that could fabricate with the same quality that when we put out from day one when it was just Anthony and myself.

 

_How do you spend your non work life (when there’s room for it)?

This year there’s no non-work life. But typically I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, with my family and her family, going out and diving as much as I can, fishing, and surfing when possible.

 

_Quick… favorite beer?

Boddingtons.

 

_What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in the last 10 years?

I think the biggest risk was taking on a project that was 20 times bigger than any project we’ve ever done before.

 

_What do you consider your spirit animal to be?

A raging bull [laughs].

 

_Go to pizza topping?

Go to pizza topping is always mushroom.

 

_This is still my favorite question. How do you like working with your sister? How about your best friend?

It has its ups and it has its downs. I feel bad when I get into arguments with both of them because I love them more than life. The trust factor is the most important thing to me and I know that no matter what when I’m not here, I trust everything that they are doing because it’s only in the benefit for the business and for all of us personally.

 

_What’s next for AC?

Continue developing a killer website, first quarter of next year producing a catalog and some marketing materials, and then I’d like to put together a sales team and start taking on some bigger projects because after this year we’re definitely set up and ready to handle some big stuff.

 

_The zombie apocalypse is finally here. Weapon of choice?

[Looks around the office] I would probably build a concrete dome so they can’t get in.