Our wait is over…the long anticipated opening of The Wharf took place Thursday, October 12. And along with shops, hotels, and brand new music venues is the grand opening of District Hardware and Bike at The Wharf. This family owned business has been serving the city for nearly half a century, and they are now expanding their operations to include a cafe which is operating as of today!
Earlier this month I sent a number of questions about Velo Café to Neil Conway, owner of District Hardware and Bike, to find out more about how this came to be. All photos below are courtesy of District Hardware.
How did the idea for Velo Café originate?
Combining complementary product offerings can even out the peaks and valleys of seasonality in a business and gives customers a “one stop shop” location where they can get more of their errands done at once. After the success of adding The Bike Shop to District Hardware, we realized that we can make that type of hybrid model successful. We’ve seen cafes do well with bike shops and believe that the new waterfront location at The Wharf was the perfect place for a combination bike shop/hardware store/cafe.
Why the name Velo?
Velo is the French word for bicycle and is used frequently in the cycling world. We wanted to tie the cafe to the biking portion of the store and thought this would help make the connection.
What coffee brand(s) will you be serving?
The Velo Café will be serving Vigilante Coffee as well as 3 Stars, Right Proper, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery beers (the selection will rotate, but the cafe plans to stick with local mid-Atlantic breweries), Jos A Magnus Distillers spirits, Bethesda Bagels, and Souk Bakery baked goods. The coffee is part of a wholesale agreement with Vigilante; under the arrangement, Vigilante will help District Hardware and Bike select and service equipment and train staff.
What is the most exciting part about opening up at The Wharf?
We love that we have the opportunity to be along the waterfront and expand our product and service offerings to better serve our customers, but we’re most excited about our local partnerships, including many that make the Velo Café possible.
What makes Velo Café unique among the DC coffee community?
We think the fact that we’re family-run, community-focused, and connected to a hardware store/bike shop along the waterfront is unique. Customers can stop by for a cup of coffee on their bike ride to the office, or after work for a beer while picking up light bulbs or paint, or they can shop while waiting for a bike repair. The hybrid nature of District Hardware and Bike plus The Velo Café is what makes it unusual, and when combined with the high quality coffee from Vigilante, it becomes even more so.
We are so excited to have Velo Café joining our coffee community! Let us know what you think once stopping in!