TRAVERSE CITY — Dan Guy remembers eating grilled cheese sandwiches as a child in Milliken’s Tea Room when he joined his mother on errand runs from Kalkaska to Traverse City.
Guy, 26, now works beneath the old tea room, where he slings coffee, balances books and roasts beans.
Guy is the new owner of Espresso Bay, the coffee shop in the Milliken Building on Front Street.
He took over the business in November and wants to make sure the 10-year-old shop honors Traverse City’s history and is part of its future.
“The history of this building is cool, and it’s important to downtown Traverse City,” Guy said. “I’d like to create something that’s a staple of Traverse City, and being here 10 years, I think it has been. I’d like to carry that on and make a fresh, comfortable place downtown.”
Not much has changed at Espresso Bay. Guy gave the interior a fresh coat of beach-y blue paint, installed TV menu boards and new tables, and wants to find local art to display, create new drink recipes and stock more local products.
Ray Dornbusch, Espresso Bay’s former owner and the father of Guy’s fiance, approached Guy about taking over the coffee shop last year. Guy was working for ECI Healthcare Partners at the time and didn’t have experience with the coffee shop, but he didn’t hesitate.
“I was honored to be considered to be a downtown business owner,” Guy said. “Chances like this don’t happen very often, so I had to jump on it.”
Owning a business has been a big life change from working in the marketing department at ECI Healthcare Partners. He’s absorbed in all aspects of Espresso Bay, from ordering supplies to learning regular customers’ orders, and often dreams of drink specials and new menu items.