“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
It’s a line straight from the script of a 1997 movie that resonated with 2012 Nyack College alumnus Eric Brown. The difference is that Eric did more than dress the part. From age of 18, he knew he wanted to own a coffee shop one day.
“Once I realized what I wanted to do, I kept searching for the next thing that could get me closer to my goals. I found jobs that would teach me more. I studied coffee outside of my jobs (books, YouTube videos)…and I went to Costa Rica to learn about coffee,” he explains.
The pastoral ministry major says, “I took some business classes at Nyack College (It was a little too late to switch majors; otherwise, I would have). Everything I did was in pursuit of this goal. I had an incredible support system in my parents, friends, and former classmates that provided advice, support, and prayers all along the way,” Eric explains.
“The Journey to the Bean” was Eric’s opportunity to be a part of the Nyack Global Service-Learning (GS-L) team that traveled to Costa Rica with director Dr. Scott Reitz and his wife, Jenny. GS-L trips are always transformational experiences for Nyack students. This trip to Central America deepened Eric’s fascination with coffee.
The social relevance of Eric’s studies speaks through his experience. “I think all too often we take for granted some of the things in our daily lives. There are people behind growing, shipping, roasting and preparing your coffee every day. To get a peek into the lives of the coffee farmers was an incredible experience. Some were single family farms on just a few acres of land. Some were huge co-ops with 100 families working together. They sold it for what seemed like almost no money. One to two dollars per pound. The roaster we use buys directly from the farmers so they don't lose any money going through a middle man importer/exporter. All around, that's the best way to buy coffee–from the source.”
How did his passion and purpose align? Eric was one of the first baristas hired at a downtown Nyack shop called Gypsy Donut & Expresso Bar. He was promoted to front of the house manager and eventually to store manager. But the ultimate payoff was yet to come.
“The owner had mentioned potentially selling the business, as he couldn't be there as much as he wanted because of family responsibilities and a full-time job,” Eric shares. “I mentioned that if he ever did want to sell, I would gladly buy. After a few months of back and forth, we came to an agreement that worked great for both of us.”
This past summer, the owner of Gypsy Donut announced in his blog that he was passing the baton on to Eric—a loyal employee, familiar face to the community and the new owner of the shop that re-opened in September as Boxer Donut & Expresso Bar. In addition to baristas, Eric’s staff includes two chefs with bakery and pastry arts degrees.
Why the name change to “Boxer” Donut?
Eric says, “I wanted to pay respectful homage to the roots that were planted for me to be able to take on the shop.” So he pulled the dog, a boxer, from the Gypsy logo and replaced it with a human boxer, which gave way to menu items like a fruit drink called “Knockout Punch” and a blackberry-blueberry jam filled donut called the “Black and Blue.”
Whether you’re ordering the current favorite seasonal drink—the pumpkin spice latte made with real pumpkin—or nibbling on the popular Maple Bacon or Old Fashioned Sour Cream donuts, you’ll find a soothing drink that’s brewed, steeped or iced to pair with the delicious Boxer pastry treats.
Visit Boxer Donut & Expresso Bar at 18 North Franklin Street in Nyack, NY.