BUFFALO, N. Y. -- Each week in our City Shapers segment we introduce you to someone who is having a positive impact on Western New York. This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik is heading back to Buffalo's West Side where a corner coffee shop is bringing the community together.
"When I was 8 years old, I always wanted to drink my parents' coffees," says Jesse Crouse. "And when I was 13, I found a stove top espresso machine, and I really just fell in love with literally drinking coffee as often as I could."
After studying poetry in college Crouse decided to make a career out of his passion for his favorite beverage. He started as a barista, and he quickly moved up the ranks.
"And I became a trainer, and I became part of the quality control department, where I tasted coffees, analyzed over three-thousand samples per year. And it was just something that was a love affair, and I got to learn more and more and more about it," says Crouse.
The Chicago-area native moved to California where he visited coffee farms, but he kept dreaming about owning his own business and being closer to his wife's family in Buffalo.
"So when we decided to move back to Buffalo, it only made sense to take that leap. Be able to say, 'well, I'm going to start a cafe and see where that takes us,'" says Crouse.
Now two years in, Tipico Coffee is thriving on Fargo Avenue on Buffalo's West Side.
"It's people on business meetings, it's students, it's people from the neighborhood, it's 20 year olds, it's 60 year olds, it's 40 year olds, and it's 80 year olds. It's really awesome. It's just one of the most eclectic places that I've been to in Buffalo," says Crouse.
Crouse wants to focus on making Tipico a community hub, and he says Buffalo is the perfect city for it.
"I really like the fact that we're a pocket city, a bunch of really awesome pockets that have really high quality people that are focused on high quality products, too. And that goes from movie theaters to restaurants to coffee bars, to bars, to everything and there's really no stopping this resurgence," says Crouse.
If you'd like to nominate a City Shaper, email Kelly Dudzik.