The intoxicating smell of coffee, the low hum of soft alternative rock and a plethora of lush plants welcome customers to downtown’s newest cafe, babygreens. What began as a petite plant shop on Cornwall Avenue has expanded into a chic cafe.
Nick Meza, a Western alumnus and the owner of the plant shop, which opened in April 2018, always had the goal of adding the cafe portion, he said. However, it wasn’t until Friday, Jan. 6 that babygreens entertained its first cafe customers in a busy grand opening, according to Meza.
He said he had the idea for his business partway through school. Having worked in food service for much of his life, Meza knew his way around the industry.
Meza graduated from Western in 2015 and said he’s always wanted to own a small business. The young business owner said he wanted to incorporate a social aspect to the shop, and the cafe was a perfect fit.
“We’re working really hard to provide the best possible energy and culture within the cafe,” Meza said. “The biggest thing that I try to strive to provide is warmth and always being a place of joy for everybody.”
Since its opening on Jan. 6, the cafe has been a popular stop for people. Not only does babygreens attract coffee drinkers, but photographers, students and people exploring downtown are also drawn-in by its aesthetically pleasing decor and calm, natural light, according to customers.
A cream, tan and green color scheme stays consistent throughout the cafe and shop area with grass-like coasters placed on small marble side tables, waiting to be topped by artisan lattes. To-go cups are stamped with the shop’s feathery logo.
Local photographer Lisa Aamot said she didn’t want to photograph in babygreens when it was just a plant shop due to the smaller space. Since the shop’s expansion, however, she has come in to make use of the bright lighting and pleasing theme.
As Aamot snapped photos of her friend surrounded by plants and the latte art, she said how excited she was about the new cafe portion of the store.
“[It just has] beautiful natural light,” Aamot said, “And it’s nice we can support local businesses.”
The cafe also boasts a diverse menu. Customers can enjoy baked goods, beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, beer and cider, or they can indulge in babygreens’ $3.50 weekend mimosas.
Dan Ashburn, a babygreens barista, is passionate about coffee and was familiar with the shop prior to the cafe opening, so he found his niche working behind the counter of the cafe.
“I love it here so far,” Ashburn said. “The vibe and environment is just great.”
Smiling customers enjoyed their decorative coffees and decadent pastries around the shop.
Bellingham residents, Dave O’Brien and Kory Bisset, wandered into babygreens for the first time Monday morning.
“I had two of their muffins,” O’Brien said. “Honestly, some of the best muffins I’ve had in my life.”
“And he’s a picky eater!” Bisset added, laughing.
However, the biggest thing that sets babygreens apart from other cafes is their staff’s desire to know and support the Bellingham community, Meza said.
Meza spends his time in the cafe striking up conversations with customers, shaking hands and ensuring everyone is content and taken care of. As familiar faces walk in, they greet Meza and congratulate him on the opening of his cafe.
“Something that is special to us is our emphasis on community events and openness to a lot of people and their ideas,” Meza said.
Meza attributes his inspiration and passion for the shop to his parents, he said.
“My parents are both small business owners and entrepreneurship kind of runs in my family,” Meza said. “So seeing that it can be done was incredibly motivating and inspiring.”
Meza looks forward to seeing how the cafe continues to grow and can’t wait to meet more of the community, he said.
“We are here for everybody, always,” Meza said. “We are always going to strive to give you the most pleasant experience in a place for you to just have fun with open arms and warmth. We’d just love to get to know everybody, especially all of the students out there.”