cafe culture.

I almost always work from home or at the office, but today I had an appointment mid-day and it didn’t make sense for me to go all the way home before needing to head downtown for dinner tonight. I figured I’d work at a Starbucks somewhere along the path that I needed to eventually be on and when I was walking I happened upon Next Door cafe. 

The cafe is run by State Farm (yes, insurance) who partnered with Doejo to design the space. Here’s a really good article about the whole venture.

And another article with some interesting background, says:

Illinois-based insurer State Farm has appeared on our virtual pages several times before, but recently we came across a reason to cover it again. The topic this time? Next Door, a new, branded café the company recently launched in Chicago. Offering financial coaching and classes, the space is designed to help State Farm get closer to the local community.

Supplied with locally made treats and artisanal coffee, State Farm’s new Next Door Café is billed on itsFacebook page as “a creative community space and café where anyone can ask questions about finances and insurance stuff and find answers. No pressure. No sales pitch. No kidding!” The café is open from 7 am to 10 pm daily, with expert-led coaching and classes during the the day. Also on hand are free wifi, a library and a meeting room. Everything is free, in fact, “except the coffee,” says the company, which also offers up the space for local events.

Similar in many ways to Heineken’s brand-sponsored Wix Lounge, State Farm’s Next Door is offering a valuable service for the local community, and bringing the brand closer to potential customers.

I’ve been sitting here for about 2 hours and so far I am pleased with the experience.

The space is large and clean, there are a lot of plugs, there’s music but it’s not too loud, the patrons have been friendly and the pesto, mozzarella, tomato crepe that I just ate for lunch was pretty decent.

There is a limited food selection, but some decent looking pastries and coffee if you’re interested in all of that.

There is also a huge chalkboard of classes being offered for the community and a canned food drive going on in the corner — cool stuff!

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I think I may need to make this a regular spot because I have gotten a lot done (until now, of course :))!

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