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La Mano Coffee Bar in Takoma meets fundraising goal

Rendering of the interior of La Mano Coffee Bar

Sometimes what looks like a nasty bump in the road can actually push you in a new and better direction. That’s what happened to the owners of La Mano, the new coffeeshop scheduled to open in Takoma Park early next month.

Javier Rivas and his partner Anna Petrillo ran into a snag when Pepco told them they needed an extensive and costly upgrade to their electrical system before they could open. Needing financial help they turned to crowdsourcing. It worked like a charm, bringing them both financial and moral support. Late last week they met their goal of $15,000.

“The typical donation was $25,” said Rivas. “We offered perks—free coffee for a year, a carry-out mug.” The campaign gave them a chance to meet much of the community, and gave the community a chance to get to know them. Rivas, who lives in Takoma Park, met some of his neighbors for the first time. They’ve also held pop-up events, mainly at nearby Trohv, a gift shop; the next is set for August 18th.

The two already own and operate Modern Times, the Politics and Prose coffeehouse. La Mano, located at 304 Carroll St. NW, steps away from the Metro, will offer a similar mix of coffee and homemade pastries, but differently—at 500 square feet, there will be little room for customers to sit. That’s part of the reason they chose the name: you need your hand to grab and go.

The other reason is a nod to their heritage—Riva’s from El Salvador, Petrillo’s family is Italian (la mano means hand in both Spanish and Italian).

The entire process took far longer than either expected, close to two years, but at this point La Mano seems good to go. In fact, Rivas might eventually expand. “There are other areas in D.C. that could use specialty coffee,” he said. “And now that I know what’s involved, I’d be prepared.”
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