A lumen is the measure of light.
Light brightens and ensures there is no darkness when it is present. This idea is the inspiration for the name of the now open establishment of Lumina Coffee Company (640 Braves Blvd NE, Rome) here in Rome.
Three and a half years ago, young Matthew Schieffer was brainstorming about his life and what he wanted to do with his future. He was in college at the University of Florida as a pre-med student simply yearning for a purpose.
The more he thought about his future and the things he wanted to accomplish in life, Schieffer realized that he wanted to do something entrepreneurial, “so I changed my major from pre-medicine to business.”
Matthew wanted to be a beacon of a community, to make a place better than it already was. He wanted to help shine a light.
“I came home and consulted with my father about changing my major and starting my own business,” says Schieffer. “I asked what he thought I should pursue, and it was basically right under our noses.”
Matt’s father, Mike Schieffer, worked for the Starbucks Corporation for nearly 18 years, consequently labeling Matt a coffee junkie who has been around the coffee business for nearly his entire life. Matt also worked at Starbucks growing up, playing a part in the coffee industry as well.
“I was drinking coffee at a very young age, probably too young at that,” laughs Schieffer. “So really, when it came down to what business to start, it was right in front of my eyes. I wanted to start a coffee company.”
Lumina is the plural of Lumen, the measure of light,” he continues. “That name is about being a bright light to the community. We want to lighten people’s day,”
“Our purpose is to be a positive light in the community. We want to be in the community and be for the community. We will not be a coffee company serving people; we will be a people company serving coffee,” continues Schieffer. “We as a company will stand out, as we wish to run our company in a way other people do not. We will differentiate ourselves. How we plan to do this can be broken down into four parts: People, Product, Environment, and last but not least, Customer Service.”
The Lumina Coffee Company plans not to simply have employees or customers. “We will have team members and guests” says Schieffer. “From the top down, our company will care for people and be about people.
“Our team members will be compensated fairly, as you cannot be a company for the people, if you don’t pay and treat your people right. And when you treat your people right, it helps them treat people right.”
Schieffer says Lumina Coffee wants to change the coffee game.
“We want to offer organic, local ingredients when possible in our coffee and food selections,” says Schieffer. “We want to have products that are fresh, never frozen, and we will never use artificial flavors or colors.”
Lumina will also offer original coffees using their full lineup of homemade syrups. “It was two years ago, I received a box of samples from some of the biggest syrup manufacturers. They all tasted like chemicals. I decided that this is not who we are, nor who we will be. So in the past two years, I have created a full lineup with real fruit extracts and real fruit juices, all homemade,” explains Schieffer.
Being the health-conscious man that he is, Matt wanted Lumina to reflect his lifestyle and offer something more to his guests.
“We have lined out everything in our products, whether it be our coffee beans, flavors and whatnot, to the foods that we serve,” says Schieffer. “We will serve a small menu which will consist of a combination of salads, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, pastries and syrups. Pretty much every single item has been vetted to make sure it fits into this ethos of organic, local when possible, healthy, nutritional and preservative free, and fresh,” explains Schieffer.
Lumina Coffee Company was designed with space in mind. “You cannot be in the community or a part of the community if members of our society cannot find a seat in your establishment,” explains Schieffer. “Our financial advisors initially recommended to us that we’d never see a return on investment with that much space.”
Inside the building, the restaurant hosts plenty of guest tables, as well as prep tables in the back to create fresh to order items. “We have our kitchen, or ‘back of house,’ set up under the concept of Mise en Place, which is a French culinary term that means ‘everything in its place.’ All back of house team members has everything they need to serve their products effectively.
“We wanted our production area to be industrial, modern and clean. Our epoxy floors go four inches up the wall so that they can be easily cleaned and there aren’t crevices to hold dirt and grime,” explains Schieffer.
“We selected our location based upon being able to serve the community. Being within a few miles of Berry College, Shorter College, Rome High School, the Braves Stadium and sitting directly on the Armuchee Connector provides us ample opportunity to do so,” Schieffer explains. “We also have the space set up to separate our drive thru and ‘front of house’ into two different entities.”
How many times have you walked up to a restaurant’s front counter and were the only customer in sight, yet you weren’t served quickly, because every team member’s focus was on the drive thru?
Lumina Coffee Co., by separating the front and back of house, is eliminating that situation for customers. With duplicated equipment in the front and back, the drive thru will service its guests and the front will service its guests separately.
“When a guest comes to the front counter, they will have the undivided attention of the team member(s). There will not be any distractions from drive thru, noise included,” says Schieffer. “Our team members will be given the opportunity to care about the guests, in order to provide a fantastic experience. We want our team members to learn our guests, so that they may know what the guest is going to order as soon as they hit the doors.”