Denis Liskevich said he developed a taste for gourmet coffee while in college in Portland, Oregon.
So when the 24-year-old entrepreneur moved home to Ooltewah, he started his own coffee venture, catering weddings and other special events with his artisan coffee concept known as Morning Brew Coffee.
Liskevich has developed a following from events he has catered at Howe Farms in Georgetown and at pop-up events at Collegedale Commons and is now preparing to open his first brick-and-mortar storefront in Cambridge Square. The 1,000-square-foot coffee shop is scheduled to open in January, joining about 40 other retail tenants in the Ooltewah complex. The new shop will feature a variety of gourmet coffee options and pastries.
"People don't always understand what a good cup of coffee tastes like, so that is what we set out to do," Liskevich said in a telephone interview. "We want to change people's perspective and what it means to drink coffee. It doesn't have to have a bitter taste or be something that you drink just to get your day doing."
Liskevich is working with Goodman Coffee Roasters and has developed a blend he said has been well received.
"Every single person who tries our coffee tells me only good things," Liskevich said. "Our motto is to 'enjoy more' of the small moments, like having a great cup of coffee."
Morning Brew Coffee's menu will offer a wide array of specialty coffees, such as cortados, lattes and pour-overs as well as the traditional blends for those looking for a simple cup of black coffee. Liskevich plans to add non-caffeinated drinks and food items to his menu with an emphasis on sweet and savory crepes, he said.
The new Morning Brew Coffee shop will be open and airy, with casual seating and a laid-back atmosphere to enable patrons to slow down and take a break from hectic schedules, Liskevich said. At the same time, Morning Brew will offer a grab-and-go service for commuter consumption.
"Cambridge Square is home to a large number of local entrepreneurs with ambition and drive, and Denis is no exception," Jim Cheney, who handles marketing and leasing for Cambridge Square, said in an announcement of the newest tenant at the Ooltewah retail and residential complex off of Lee Highway. "Morning Brew Coffee's product is superior, and the community-oriented vibe they intend for their space is a perfect fit for Cambridge patrons."
Morning Brew Coffee joins at least a half dozen other coffee retailers that have brewed up new coffee options in the Chattanooga market within the past five years. But Liskevich is emphasizing his local roots and special coffee flavor to compete with the growing number of coffee retailers in the market, he said.
One of the fastest growing national drive-through coffee chains, Dutch Bros, is preparing to soon open the first of several planned units in the market with a new outlet on Hixson Pike near Northgate Mall.
The Arkansas-based 7 Brew expanded into the Chattanooga market this spring with a drive-through unit in the Northtowne Square shopping center on Highway 153, and last fall, Valdosta, Georgia, coffee chain Red Owl Coffee expanded into the Chattanooga market with its first local drive-through coffee kiosk in East Brainerd. Red Owl, which is relocating much of its operations to Chattanooga, is planning at least four area outlets.
Two years ago, Scooter's also entered the Chattanooga market with plans to eventually build up to 15 of its drive-through coffee stands across the Chattanooga region.
Four local coffee chains and shops also have been started in the past five years and continue to add more storefronts. Be Caffeinated, a chain of drive-through coffee shops launched in 2018 in Red Bank, has grown to include four drive-through units. Sleepyhead Coffee, which started in 2019 as a coffee cart, is expanding its storefront in the downtown James Building. In December, a Montreal bagel shop known as Honey Seed opened on South Market Street, and Squirrel Rabbit Coffee Bar and Creamery opened in North Chattanooga in June.
According to the consulting firm Research and Markets, coffee shops are projected to grow at an annual rate of 4.2% in the current decade, rising from an estimated $165.7 billion in global sales this year to $229.9 billion by 2030.