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Global Flavors Converge At New Cafe In Gateway, St. Petersburg

Jeff Sprinkmann loves travel, conservation and coffee. So he combined his passions with his entrepreneurial experience to open a Caribbean-themed cafe -- not in trendy downtown St. Pete but smack in the crossroads of its major highways.

Mocha Vida Cafe opened on May 3 at the Gateway Crossing Shopping Plaza at 10468 Roosevelt Blvd. in St. Petersburg, a patch of commercial space nestled among converging highways. When asked why he chose this location as opposed to downtown, Sprinkmann's answer is a mixture of practicality and sentimentality.

"There's a lot of coffee shops downtown," Sprinkmann says. "I didn't want to compete with them. There's a lot of businesses here that don't have a coffee shop within a mile. I've been coming here to restaurants for 20 years. It's just an easy location to get to."

The cafe is a fusion of diverse themes that reflect Sprinkmann's travels. The owner loosely describes it as an Irie/Jamaican, Costa Rican, rainforest, surf cafe with a heavy dose of art, music, environmental conservation and Caribbean culture. "It's definitely a laid-back place," he says. The cafe offers a variety of coffees, espressos, loose teas, fresh juices and chocolates, live music, local art work and free WIFI.

Sprinkmann is no stranger to entrepreneurship. The Eckerd College graduate founded Galahad Environmental, Inc., a consulting services company that specializes in green building solutions. Sprinkmann says he hopes to infuse conservation into the cafe.

"Once I get money floating in, I'd like to put in solar roofing. I've talked to the building owners and they like the idea. I also want to dedicate proceeds from the shop to Costa Rica. I'd like to make this an environmentally friendly place -- recycled materials, fair trade products -- eliminate waste," he says.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Jeff Sprinkmann, Mocha Vida Cafe




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