GTPulse: Mundos – It’s a Family Thing
In their quest for good coffee, the Clarks piled into a Chevy Suburban hauling a camper and traveled all over the country for over five months.
“We went to different coffee shops, roasteries, and asked “How can we do this?’ I learned so much about coffee on that trip. My kids did too, and they developed a similar interest in it,” said Dan Clark.
He and his wife Melissa are the proud parents of five children, and proud owners of Mundos Coffee & Roasting Co. Though they’re the two masterminds behind the success of their cafes, their kids have stepped up and truly helped make it into the thriving family business that is it today. The two locations in Traverse City and Suttons Bay are loved and frequented by locals for their good coffee, food, friendly service, and impeccable aesthetics.
There’s no such thing as taking a bad photo at either cafe. Plant-covered shelves and splashes of sunlight spread out over the white walls, and sleek seating surrounds the cafe and coffee tables that provide the perfect setting for a productive remote workday or catching up with a friend. The Instagram-worthy atmosphere is the doing of the eldest, Sarah.
“Sarah is the biggest part of the design here,” Dan said. “The wall tables were her idea, she was the plant lady for a long time. Her husband is our baker, so not only is it my kids that help out, it’s my kids-in-law too.”
She’s not the only one of the Clark kids to get hands-on with the business. All of them do. Son Jack is responsible for roasting the coffee beans, a skill he learned from his father, and a catalyst for the business. Eldest son Adam and his wife Kelly run the Suttons Bay location.
“Grace, my second youngest is a barista right now. Ben, he’s 13, is at North right now helping his brother with taking orders and answering the phone. He can make drinks with someone over his shoulder and has been doing a really great job!”
Dan began roasting beans at home in 2016 but had dreamed of owning his own coffee shop long before then.
“Ever since I was 15 I wanted to have a coffee shop. I always drank my dad’s coffee growing up, and it was just like burnt sludge but I forced myself to drink it because I thought it was the cool thing to do. It wasn’t until 2014 or 2015 that I had a cup of coffee that really blew my mind.”
The cup was a Rwanda single-origin pour-over from Morsels and brought back thoughts of starting his own coffee shop. He and Melissa had moved to Traverse City in 1997. Dan owned a concrete business, and Melissa owned a photography business. That cup of coffee sparked the journey into a dream.
Not long after exploring some of the nation’s cafes and roasteries, Mundos opened in November of 2017. The Traverse City-based cafe has been a conduit for community connection, and one of my favorite places to get out of the house on a sunny workday afternoon. Their early success led them to open the second cafe in Suttons Bay in April 2019 and the attached Eat House in June of 2020. Opening an eatery in the middle of 2020 was a gamble that paid off.
“It was a crazy time, but it worked out really well. It’s been great but at the time was a hard decision to make.”
They’ve supported countless caffeine lovers, among other locals in the community. Rad.ish Street Food got their first food truck from Dan before COVID struck. And as a way to support local artists and makers during the pandemic, they’ve begun carrying their items for sale at the Traverse City location. Apothecary products, leather goods, and chicly potted plants make Mundos the perfect place to pick up a coffee for yourself and a gift for a friend.
It’s all a part of their mission statement, which is to love people well. As a self-admitted caffeine addict, I’m not necessarily particular about my coffee or tea. It depends on the day. After a sleepless night, I usually want a cold brew. On days I’m more stressed, a matcha latte. But sometimes I’m not sure at all, and it’s those days that I’ll seek out Mundos. Their baristas notoriously are patient and not pretentious, a direct result of the Clark family’s warmth.
“Our biggest thing here is that we love people well. When you do that, when you can make someone feel that, they’re more likely to come back, whether the coffee’s good or not.”
Lucky for us that the coffee is good and love is abundant. Get yourself a little of each next time you’re in need or looking to go somewhere that makes you feel like family too.
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