Growing Fast with Intention

In this episode of The Localist, host Carrie Rollwagen chats with Josh and Mel Cosio, founders of Cala Coffee. They explore the origins and growth of their business, which is fueled by a love for coffee and community. The heart of their mission is to use coffee as a catalyst for bringing people together, with their café serving as a “third place” for the Cahaba Heights community.

Josh and Mel delve into the details of opening two brick-and-mortar locations within a short time, recalling the processes of branding, architecture and interior design and how these elements play into the unique experience they create for customers. They also talk about their coffee cart and how it helped them scale the business, taught them to work on the fly and allowed them to dabble in events. 

Expanding beyond coffee, ventures like the “Gulp” wine program and “Easy Cowboy” brunch spot in Cahaba Heights broadened their offerings. Throughout, they’ve maintained a vibrant social media presence, connecting with the community and sharing their passion for coffee.

Mentioned in this episode:
Cala Coffee:

Cala Coffee Instagram:

Andrew Thomson of A. Studio:

Andrew Thomson’s Localist episode:

Ohm Jiu Jitsu:

Amanda Loper:

David Baker Architects:

Harvest Roots Kombucha:

Birdsong Farmer’s Market:

Seeds Coffee:

Small Business Association: 

Fig Tree:

June Coffee:

Easy Cowboy:

Jeremy Moore:


Shu Shop:

About Carrie

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find the Localist at @thinklocalist on Instagram and follow Carrie at @crollwagen.

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