Human Bean plans downtown Mesa shop - East Valley Tribune: News

Human Bean plans downtown Mesa shop

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Posted: Friday, April 25, 2008 1:29 pm | Updated: 11:41 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Mesa’s historic Main Street is getting its first specialty coffee shop.

The Human Bean, an Oregon-based coffee retailer, will begin serving iced espresso drinks, hot lattes, bagels and pastries as early as July when it opens at the old Winchell’s Donut House at the southwest corner of Main Street and Country Club Drive.

“It’s an excellent location, and it’s a gateway to downtown,” said Jeff Torkelson, who has a franchise agreement with the company. “We’re going to renovate that space to be appropriate for the image of downtown Mesa. It’s going to be very sophisticated.”

Torkelson said the core of the building will remain essentially the same.

“It will be freshened up, repainted, re-landscaped, and we’ll be doing a complete interior (renovation),” he said.

The move is part of a Valleywide expansion that will include 25 stores over the next five to seven years, many of which will be in the East Valley, he said.

“Suffice to say we really, really like Mesa,” he said. “There are numerous sites within Mesa that we are considering and, of course, Chandler and Gilbert and those environments on that side (east of Interstate 17) are very attractive.”

Patrick Murphy, senior town center development specialist in the city’s economic development department, said the business is a welcome addition to downtown. “It’s going to be a definite improvement to that corner,” he said.

The site that will house the Human Bean had fallen into decline since the closure of Venchell doughnut house there in May 2007.

The short existence of Venchell at 405 W. Main St. was a tumultuous one. After Winchell’s was purchased by Yum Yum Donuts in 2005, the shop’s owner changed the name on the store’s signs by deleting half of the letter “W,” converting the “i” into an “e” and dropping the apostrophe and “s.”

Before the closure, owner Edward Salib locked horns with the city in a lawsuit over local sign regulations. A city ordinance prohibited signs from covering more than 30 percent of window area, a rule that Salib claimed violated his First Amendment rights. He eventually lost when the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against him.

Torkelson said he sees a lot of potential at that corner and said it will be a gathering spot for the workers in the area.

“We’re currently working with our submissions with the city,” he said. “They’re very interested in the site. It’s right there on the edge of the downtown area.”

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