Meet the stockists: Convenience Coffee
Family-run Convenience Coffee has bridged a gap between the familiar local convenience store and a modern, specialist independent shop. We spoke with co-owner Marvin about how they hope to revitalise a dwindling magazine culture in Manila, one cup of coffee at a time.
What inspired you to open Convenience Coffee?
Convenience was a concept born during the pandemic, a family affair that spurred from my, my wife and my sisters’ common love for coffee and café culture. The rapid rise in new coffee shops at the time made us decide to keep it personal so we can set it apart. The name ‘Convenience’ was initially inspired by our family’s convenience store, which was established in 1997 and sadly closed in 2021. The store stood in the same building of Convenience Coffee Shop.
While it was primarily a nod to family history at the start, the concept eventually grew to become an intersection of the spirit of local neighborhood convenience stores or “sari-sari stores” and the concept of an independent speciality coffee shop – our version of modern café culture mixed with the warmth of Filipino “sari-sari” stores.
What’s the indie magazine publishing scene like in Manila?
To be honest, the reason why we are exploring carrying a few titles in the shop is because magazine culture as a whole in Manila has greatly dwindled in the past few years. Inside the biggest bookstores in the city, if not cramped in one small magazine rack, magazines are almost nowhere to be found. You will find a few titles inside some gas station shops around the city, but other than those two main spaces, magazines in Manila are now mostly only visible online or in specialty events. So this lack, we believe, is an opportunity to introduce indie magazines to the local market, and cultivate readership in the country. While it is an uphill battle, we’re determined to try, albeit slowly and at a small scale.
What makes Convenience Coffee special?
More than our dedication to the quality of coffee that we serve, we believe that we are in the path of discovering a point-of-view, narrative and hospitality that’s uniquely our own.
How do you choose the magazines that go into the shop?
Circling back to our reason for starting Convenience, a big part of its DNA is based on our team’s interests and preferences. So a big factor when choosing magazines to carry in the shop is our team’s diverse personal interests. Another factor is the local reading market – is there a demand for a food title or a business one? How about fashion versus sports? We weigh in these questions about the landscape and match it with our own interests as readers and magazine lovers ourselves.
What are your current favourite magazines?
Personally I’m currently into titles leaning towards culture. Top of mind are Apartamento, B Magazine, 032c and Fantastic Man.
What does the future hold for Convenience Coffee?
To be able to continue serving coffee, selling products, and offering the type of service that we like and are proud of. And to continuously build a restorative space through coffee, objects, hospitality and atmosphere.
Slow Journalism in your inbox, plus infographics, offers and more: sign up for the free DG newsletter. Sign me up
Thanks for signing up.