In Our Feels: A Look Back @ 1200 East-West Highway!
This edition of our Liner Notes Blog looks back at Bump ‘n Grind’s formidable years at our cafe at 1200 East-West Highway. It was here that we developed our brand, grew our community, and became recognized as a premiere destination for coffee and vinyl records in the US! We asked David Fogel, Bump ‘n Grind’s driving force, about his best memories from our first location in Silver Spring, and some of the key lessons learned about starting a small business.
In December 2014, David signed the lease at 1200 East-West Highway with the help of two friends from the DC music scene, Joe Liehr and Ben Rowland. The idea to open a community coffee shop with a focus on vinyl records, dance music, and community-building blossomed after an initial attempt of David’s to open a nightclub on H St fell through. With a quick pivot to his plans, David and Joe crystallized the concept of Bump ‘n Grind at the location where all great ideas spawn, Burning Man. Come December, the two were opening the doors of the cafe with Ben as the initial GM.
Over the next 7 years, Bump ‘n Grind evolved and welcomed new partners and community members. The cafe gained local, national, and international recognition for creating a space where coffee and music intersected so beautifully. We lost some dear friends in this time period, including the passing of our GM Ben Rowland, but gained many more while watching our community support a concept like B ‘n G. We’ve had world-touring DJs create mixes from our turntables, supported other local small businesses by providing pop-up opportunities, and even created a weekly market, the Beacon Market, to engage our public spaces and create an active community!
Notably, the cafe became a home for Bump ‘n Grind to begin their journey as a gourmet coffee roaster, vinyl record label, and cozy space for our own families to grow and mingle. While there are too many to choose from, David lists some of the highlights from the space: the “soft” opening packed with supportive family and friends; numerous FORWARD Festival events; unveiling a mural commissioned with the help for the neighborhood association after the 2016 election; fundraising for Jamie Raskin’s Democracy Summer project.
As the pandemic ultimately required us to close the doors of 1200 East-West Highway and search for greener pastures, we grew a lot as a business and brand in this location. David looks back and shares:
“There’s a lot of stress running a small business. One often feels alone on an island, dealing with lots of big and little things. A huge chunk of our income went to paying rent and when the sh*t hit the fan during the pandemic… I had a lot of realizations about money and relationships. When we left 1200, I told myself I didn’t ever want to be in such a situation again. 3 years later we’re at 923 Gist and I couldn’t be happier, more full of hope and excitement about the future.”
Bump ‘n Grind is excited to be activating our newest space at 923 Gist with the Analog Market. The idea is to continue cultivating a destination and space for people to enjoy our coffee, listen to fun music, and discover amazing small businesses from the area. We are dedicated to making 923 Gist our new home, and working to develop it into a full-fledged cafe/restaurant/bar concept as the next year/year and a half unfold.