Red Bay Coffee has one shop in a shipping container in Oakland and plan to open another in the BART station parking lot in Richmond by the end of 2018.

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Richmond Espresso Bar To Pay Homage To Port Town's History

Holly Quan
July 22, 2018 - 3:00 am

Downtown Richmond will get its first specialty coffee shop in more than a decade from a Bay Area roaster known for opening espresso bars in small spaces. 

Keba Konte, the founder of Red Bay Coffee, is building his latest outpost in a shipping container on the ground floor of a parking lot in the city's BART station. The industrial exterior gives no hint at the atmosphere that awaits inside, Konte said. 

Plus, the shipping container will allude to Richmond's rich maritime history.

"When it's closed, it looks just like a simple shipping container," said Konte. "But as the door slides'll be revealed beautiful wooden details and a state-of-the-art polished espresso bar inside.

Reusing shipping containers for retail is not a new concept, but Konte said they help keep costs down, which makes artisan coffee more affordable. The challenge arises when connecting the container to water and electrical utilities, but Konte has tackled that problem before in the coffee stand he opened in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood. 

"It's about all the space you really need for a compact coffee bar and it really suits our purpose," he said. "Coffee is so much more than just coffee. It's really a place to sit and gather and have conversations."

Red Bay Coffee's Richmond location is expected to open by the end of the year. 

Customers get beverages at Red Bay Coffee's Oakland location, which is also in a shipping container.
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