Better late than never say co-owners of Blvd. Coffee (top to bottom) Humberto Olvera, Tami Olvera (with her 15-month-old son on her shoulders) and Gabriel Olvera, who will move to a larger location a few doors from the present location in August.
By Suzanne Cristallo
This was supposed to have been a grand opening story. Tami and Humberto Olvera are not new to the coffeehouse world. They have successfully owned and managed Blvd. Coffee in Los Gatos for nearly three years. But they are new to officialdom and the tortuous path to permits. What the uninitiated might believe to be a logical and simple process indeed is not.
The Olveras decided to move their popular shop in the Los Gatos Village Square into a former beauty salon next to the newly renovated McWhorter's Stationers in the center. The new space would increase their size from 800 to 1,380 square feet , allowing room for a sandwich bar and 40 seated customers, instead of 12.
In preparation for what they thought would be a weekend move, their customers pitched in. Steve, Bob, John, June and Carol tore down a dividing wall and ripped out old carpeting, refusing even a cup of coffee in return. Judy and her son Patrick helped paint.
Tami Olvera fastidiously drew plans, showing a slightly different placement of sinks and pipes from that used by the beauty salon on the same wall. "I even did it to scale!" she says proudly. Believing all she needed to do was find a plumber, get a mover and find an open weekend for the move, she took her drawing to the town.
"I was a little shocked," she says of her response to the news that only plans by a professional would be accepted; that she needed a blueprint of all the wiring in addition to the plumbing; and that it might be anywhere from two weeks to a month before a permit could be granted. Another rude awakening came with finding an architect to do the plans. "Most of them couldn't be bothered with a job so small, and if they could, it would cost a minimum of $10,000," she relates.
Luckily, she found an angel whom she feels was just starting out in the field and got a blueprint she could afford. "Now, it's all in the hands of the town as to how long it will be," she says. They are hoping for a September opening, which is also their three-year anniversary.
Customers can expect a roomy living area in the new digs, complete with TV and computer hook-ups. "It definitely will be kid-friendly," Olvera notes, explaining that her 14-month-old son, Monte, spends time in the store when he is not being watched by his father, his Uncle Gabriel, Olvera's sister or a friend. Monte was a long-anticipated arrival on the scene at the coffee house, where customers helped and planned right along with the Olveras for the new addition. In short, Blvd. Coffee is a neighborhood place where folks congregate and like to be neighborly.
They come for breakfasts of Noah's bagels with cheese and eggs to which salsa, ham, onions, mushrooms and olives may be added, or croissants filled with hot ham and cheese. There are lattes, mochas and the very popular caramel cappuccinos. There's also Olvera's own creation of a milkshake-like, blended espresso drink with Oreo cookies--a favorite of youngsters. They also come for the Olveras and Gabriel, who take turns running the store.