n+1 Coffee and Beer has joined the SBR Endurance and Rocket Bicycle Studio building on Bruce Street.
The name was inspired by the idea that the right number of bikes to own is one more than you currently have, an idea that owners Jessica Laufenberg and Peter Oyen practice at the original businesses there.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I work better being outside the box,” Laufenberg said.
Laufenberg and Oyen each own 50 percent of Rocket Bicycle Studio and n+1. They added n+1 to the shop in January and said they have been doing steady business ever since. Laufenberg is also part owner of SBR Endurance, but her primary business partner Bill Martin runs the training studio.
Rocket Bikes opened in 2009 on Venture Court, where Laufenberg’s training studio had moved in 2008 after three years on Main Street. Now all the businesses work out of the 55 year old building on Bruce Street.
“We used to be all kind of on top of each other and now we’ve got training studios in one spot, the bike shops in a spot, we’ve got the cafe,” Laufenberg said.
Selling coffee and beer at a bike shop is more common in the cycling communities on the East and West coasts, Oyen said, but he and Laufenberg saw a chance in Verona. They had already focused on a “third place” concept with Rocket Bikes and see the cafe as an additional service they could add for their customers.
“Place one is home, place two is work, third place was always our studio,” Laufenberg said. “We just wanted to add more to that.”
Existing customers for the other shops come in and cool off with a beer after a ride or training or grab coffee for to get some caffeine. But most customers are new and use n+1 like any other coffee shop.
Laufenberg and Oyen estimated that 80 percent of their clientele at n+1 aren’t cyclists or triathletes.
“I’m watching people pull in (during the interview) and I know they’ve never been here, I can just tell,” Oyen said.
For beers, n+1 has six taps, including one nitro tap, and a grab-and-go or grab-and-stay cooler. Oyen grew up in Potosi and as a kid used to play in the caves the brewery once used. Now, n+1 always has a Potosi Brewery beer on tap and in the cooler.
Laufenberg grew up in Cross Plains, so both wanted to emphasize local connections in their new business. Rather than compete with other Verona businesses, they have tried to find products not available in other Verona stores.
To do so, they buy their coffee beans from Rusty Dog Coffee in Madison; their pastries come from Rosie’s Bakery in Monona; and their nitro coffee taps from Pilcrow Coffee in Milwaukee. Their espresso drinks come only in the traditional sizes – meaning a cappuccino is always 6 ounces.
“Everything’s been a good, solid, quality relationship,” Oyen said. “There’s been no animosity, there’s been no friction, it’s just been nothing but good.”
Laufenberg and Oyen know some people might want more options at a coffee shop than they offer. But they said they have not had any problems finding employees. The only help wanted ad they have used is on their website and most of their employees were hired after coming into the shop and saying they wanted to work there.
“They want to be a part of something and help it grow because they feel passionate about it – it’s their side hustle,” Laufenberg said.
Located across from Fireman’s Park, they hope that they can be a part of a shift in the environment on that side of town. Oyen emphasized that they hoped to see more non-corporate businesses opening on that side of town.
“We hope that we’re that anchor for that, for this push down here,” Laufenberg said.