Amazing Coffee and a Great Philosophy at Village Coffee Market
“Encourage Someone Today.”
Walking into Village Coffee Market in Stony Brook, where you’ll find an incredible assortment of coffee, tea, gifts and more, you might have noticed these words throughout the store. Simple words, but when considered in the context of how a kind word can truly change someone’s perception about themselves, their life and their direction, they can make an incredible impact on the life of a friend, family member or stranger.
It is an edict that Gary Contes, co-owner, hopes will be used by those who visit his shop to spread kindness and goodwill, even as he practices it himself.
“We use the phrase on everything (packaging, t-shirts, etc.),” Contes said. “You can’t argue the message. It can be used to help motivate a young person, or to ease the pain of loneliness or to show genuine appreciation.”
Perhaps it goes back to the kindness shown to Contes’ grandfather when he came to this country from Greece when he was 15 years old. It’s certainly something he found valuable as his children were growing up and he became friends with their friends, opening his home to all.
“A little encouragement can go a long way,” he said.
When his grandfather came to this country he didn’t speak English. A kind gentleman who realized he was speaking Greek walked him to a Greek coffee shop. There he received help in getting a train to an address he brought with him in Bethlehem, PA. He never forgot the kindness, and years later when he by chance recognized the man who had helped him, they became lifelong friends.
Contes has fond memories of his grandfather, the pipe he smoked and how he loved to tell stories. And he loved coffee. Years later when Contes bought a coffee distribution company from his cousin, now in business for fifty years and called Colonial Coffee, he searched for a blend that he could use to honor his grandfather’s memory. He found a bold coffee, with no bitterness, and proceeded to create Fradelos Coffee-Extra Bold. The logo features a pipe on a plate with smoke billowing up.
Contes opened the coffee shop in Stony Brook two years ago to sell specialty coffee and coffee beans, tea, Nespresso and specialty items such as pancake mix, syrup, cookies, jams, teapots, French presses, mugs, Biscotti, gluten-free items and more. His signature collection is a mix-and-match assortment of over 180 flavors for K cup or single cup brewers. The collection includes specialty flavors, decaf, teas and more. Visitors can choose their favorites and bring home an assortment.
Or, you can choose a flavor and get a cup to go.
Seventy of the flavors are from the company’s own exclusive Terrace Café cup brand. There is Cuban coffee, Greek coffee, the popular Bridgehampton Blend and a local favorite: Red Velvet Cappuccino.
Recently the store held a special Greek day event and invited visitors to come in for Greek pastries and to sample a specialty: Greek Frappeh (an iced espresso combined with Frappuccino with three layers, served over ice and very frothy and foamy). He hopes to hold more events in the future.
Owning the shop in Stony Brook, along with his wife Barbara, allows Contes to do what he loves best and to also keep close to his roots.
“The first thing a Greek will say when someone comes over is ‘Put the coffee on,’” he said. “All Greeks love coffee.”
Village Coffee Market, 131 Main Street, Stony Brook, NY