“Welcome home” is the first thing you hear when you cross the threshold of Pasadena’s Home Brewed Bar. Brian Molina has artfully combined warm hospitality and cold brew teas and coffee to create a next-generation coffee shop that prides itself as much on its unique product as its customer service. I popped in recently (as I do most days that end in y) for a vanilla toddy “dirty” and asked Brian to spill the beans on the inspiration for HBB and the things that continue to drive him as a small business owner.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
Once upon a time… People have their passion, mine is guest service and drinks. I have 20 years of hospitality experience in restaurant, bars, and cafes. I have created many a drink and met tons of guests. I see each transaction as a transfer of someone’s hard work, so I wanted to create a space where we respect the transaction by delivering genuine, friendly and welcoming guest service, as well as amazing drinks of all kinds — from simple to twisted concoctions. I want to be a part of our guests’ daily routine and I want to bring a little happy to their tea and coffee experience, either by kind and cool team members or creative and great quality drinks. I want to bring that happy to as many communities as I can.
Why do you love doing business here in Pasadena?
We love Pasadena in part because of the considerable amount of diverse groups of people who reside here, frequent, and visit the city. Pasadena gives you an enormous selection of restaurants, stores, and attractions all immersed in a feeling of rich and interesting history. I love that Pasadena feels like a city and lives like a suburb. From museums to hiking to a bumping and flourishing Old Town, not to mention, cool streetscapes, amazing schools, and awesome residents, Pasadena really has it all. The convergence of different retail shops, restaurants, and cafes makes for awesome foot traffic and having so many neighbors and stores adds more to the guest’s overall experience.
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
While I can’t cite the most helpful feedback, positive feedback is the most helpful because that feedback bolsters our spirit, passion and enthusiasm by letting us know that what we are doing is appreciated and enjoyed. It’s knowing that we did something amazing for someone that affirms our concept and helps us through the day because being a small business owner, you need all the help you can get.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
My advice to other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business is be passionate about what you do. Be ready to work all the time, but carve out windows for yourself for things other than work. Be well capitalized. Try new things and fail (but try not to fail too much!). Make sure your business makes you happy. Be open, ask a lot of questions, and get all the advice (remember, you don’t have to follow it). Give yourself some time for your product to get its wings, but make sure you use each hour of the day efficiently. Set goals and set milestones. Be ready to grind. Hustle!
Feel at home in Pasadena at Home Brewed Bar or any of the other small businesses that make up this charming LA city. Download the Yelp mobile app to find a great business in your area. If you run your own great local business, use the free tools available at biz.yelp.com to help tell your story and join the conversation.