The Heart of Myrtle & Cypress

Crafting Community, Connection and Coffee for Gifford Park and its surrounding neighborhoods in Omaha, NE.

Myrtle & Cypress Lifestyle
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Project Ends on November 17, 2017
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Project Description

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Welcome to Myrtle & Cypress

We are happy to introduce you to Myrtle & Cypress Coffeehouse in the Gifford Park Neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, owned and run by Lisa and Eric Purcell, and Megan and Brandon Sperry.  Gifford Park and its surrounding neighborhoods have a population of nearly 5,300, with no coffee shop within walking distance for the majority of people.  We are aiming to start a coffee shop that will become an area landmark, highlighting Gifford Park’s diversity, “local” style, hospitality, and value of well-being. Our mission is to provide the missing indoor gathering space for Gifford Park residents and to be the coffee shop in town known for its locally driven and nourishing menu. We are part of a small faith community called Rooted Way that is committed to the flourishing of Gifford Park and its residents.

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Why does Gifford Park need a Coffeehouse?

Gifford Park Neighborhood loves to gather, but has no indoor gathering spaces suitable for kids, families, students or even people who want somewhere to go work or study.  During the warmer seasons, the park buzzes with activity and neighbors participate wholeheartedly in the Community Garden, Neighborhood Market, and various kids programming. But where can we go in inclement weather?  Or to rest from activity?  Or to deepen relationships?

Area coffee shops don’t cater to our neighborhood and its values. Because Gifford Park’s small business district doesn’t yet have a coffee shop, in order to get a specialty coffee, residents need to go to Midtown Crossing or Blackstone District.  These are wonderful areas of town, but both cater to a decisively wealthy and/or professional crowd which does not include all or even most of Gifford Park’s residents.

Coffee Shops often don’t have options for people who are health conscious.  Coffee shops tend to run on caffeine, sugar, dairy, and wheat.  Many people have food intolerances or are athletic and want to stay in shape.  They often find themselves going out to coffee with friends and having to choose between cheating on their diet, or only drinking water.  We want to change that.

We are designing Myrtle & Cypress with Wellness, as well as Gifford Park’s needs and values in mind.

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Filling the Need

Myrtle & Cypress will offer specialty coffee and espresso drinks, teas and tonics, ice-cream, pastries, and small bites to serve the many reasons people have to visit a coffee shop.  We will offer a solid base of traditional options and current trends in coffee, but what will set us apart is a menu offering homemade, health conscious, and cultural drinks; a bright and homey decor for relaxing or gathering; and connection to the vibrant “local” scene valued in Gifford Park.

We first considered pursuing this project after years of being residents who just wanted a local place to meet up with our local friends.  Someplace to celebrate after Gifford Park Soccer Camp… someplace to visit with families we met at the Community Garden…and someplace to simply get a quick cup of coffee!  Community and Connection are the reasons we are doing this, so we are inviting our Community (near and far) to help us raise funds for the “Heart” of the Coffee Shop….our espresso machine!

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 2.43.17 PMOur dream is to purchase a workhorse espresso machine that will match the volunteerism and hard working spirit of our neighborhood.  The La Marzocco Linea is just that machine! “The clean lines and simple charm of the Linea occupy many of the cafes, roasteries, and chains whose names have defined the industry. The Linea is the classic La Marzocco machine that has supported the development of the specialty coffee industry since the 1988. A tried and true machine, it is a heavy duty workhorse that performs reliably in high-volume settings.”

A Little Bit More About Us

The Sperrys and Purcells have lived very intentionally in the Gifford Park neighborhood for 6 years.  We are part of a small faith community called Rooted Way that is committed to the flourishing of Gifford Park and its residents.  For the past six years we have labored alongside our friends and neighbors toward the Gifford Park mission of making it a great place to live, work, learn and play.  We have increasingly found that a role the Rooted Way community plays is to help people connect across barriers.

In recent years, we have begun to realize that if we want to impact our Neighborhood the way we feel called to, we need to have an even more tangible presence here in Gifford Park.  Deep roots make for a strong tree.  Through a time of prayer, we were led to Isaiah 55:13, where God’s work in a place is compared to replacing a weed patch with two strong and beautiful trees.  You guessed it:  the Myrtle and the Cypress.  We have the opportunity to take a building that has sat vacant for years and breathe life and community into it.

Meet the Team

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Lisa Purcell is the heart of our team. She is a woman of intentionality, hard work and care. She spends the majority of her time pouring herself out for her family and neighbors, and when she is not doing that she is experimenting in the kitchen,dreaming of ways that health can very much be an integral part of a coffee house. We are so thankful for her creativity and heart and we can’t wait for you to experience her gifting come to life in our coffee house.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.54.11 AMEric Purcell is the teams visionary. In fact the whole idea for opening Myrtle & Cypress originated from a conversation Eric was having with his 11 year old daughter Norah. She had asked him what business he would open up if he could. The dream of the coffee house emerged. Eric shared that dream with some close friends and neighbors and 9 Months later Eric is now finding himself being the grounding presence on the Myrtle & Cypress team. Eric takes care of all things legal and foundational for the coffee house and the rest of the team is SUPER thankful that he does! Give him a “like”, it will make him happy!

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Currently Brandon Sperry spends his days as a 5th grade teacher and some of his nights as a barista at a local coffee shop. While his love for children and play are still very present in his heart, he is realizing that he wants a job where he can work and serve people with his hands. His love of coffee and chatting led him to become a barista and he is anxiously counting down the days until he can greet the first customer that comes into Myrtle & Cypress Coffee House!

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Megan Sperry is usually the one running the social media side of the business and taking photos for you all to see. She feels most satisfied at the end of the day when she has created something beautiful that people can connect with. And while she is currently off the caffeine, she loves drinking tea and will cheer on anyone else who is wanting to do so!

Our Values

We believe in being true to our own nature as well as the nature of the place we live in.  That said, we have Four Values that we feel embody the neighborhood, as well as our own community within Gifford Park.

Rooting in Gifford Park — Gifford Park has such a unique atmosphere!  We appreciate different cultures, wellness, community involvement, and an entrepreneurial spirit here.  We want to bring out and celebrate the heart of Gifford Park in Myrtle & Cypress.

Local Collaboration — We love the local movement, because it connects people with their place.  People connected to a place care for its environment,  protect its assets, improve its liabilities, and love its people…better!   The Gifford Park Neighborhood Market has fostered the “local” movement by connecting our community to local artisans and makers.  We want to go even further by giving some of those same vendors a year round market for their wares.  We are already connecting with vendors we are hoping to highlight as suppliers for the shop.

Hospitality — Gifford Park is a diverse community.  Since community building is a priority for us, we will create a down-to-earth vibe, welcoming to the variety of people in this part of town. Our setting will be light, bright, homey and comfortable.

Holistic Well Being — Coffee shops are usually places of indulgence, but people often go “out to coffee” when they are really looking for self-care.  People go for quiet, solitude, a well deserved treat, community, space away from the norm, sanctuary, focus, as well as a caffeine fix.  Myrtle & Cypress will address the more varied motives for visiting a coffee shop.  It all boils down to well-being.