Located on New Dorp Lane in Staten Island, NY is a chic, personable coffee shop, with a market selling creative goods in the back.
Estera Alvarado started a unique business named, Sips + Maker. Sips + Maker sells everything from specialty coffee, to fresh baked pastries, to raw honey, to fair trade goods. All food and products for sale are held to high ethical standards.
With vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free, and non-GMO options available on the menu, Sips + Maker is enjoyable for everyone. Estera’s small business supports a multitude of other small businesses, allowing customers to feel good about the way they are spending their money.
Although Estera has a number of business ideas she would like to take on, she explains, “This part of the island needed a specialty coffee shop,” so she pursued Sips + Maker first.
The description on Sips + Maker’s Instagram account reads: “Relaxing coffee bar meets design market with curated handmade products by artists + makers focusing on fair trade + ethical production.”
The first thing one will notice about the shop is how beautiful the storefront is. The awning is labeled Sips + Maker, with a description underneath that reads, “Coffee Bar and Design Market.”
Above the name of the store is a clever graphic design of a small bird holding a branch. This represents the “maker” holding the material it will be using to build something and resting on top of a coffee cup.
Brooke Dahl, one of Sips + Maker’s amiable employees, just graduated from C.S.I. and is working at the bar and market full time. One day as she was passing by, Sips + Maker caught her eye with the logos pretty graphic design and stores charming composition.
“Besides working here as a barista, I help with Sips + Maker’s design aspect and social media. In the future, I’m aiming to continue working with graphic design.” Brooke’s favorite drink on the menu is their iced Americano.
The window front is decorated with an assortment of candles and lights, giving a bright and inviting welcome to customers. Walking in, one will find that the entirety of the coffee shops interior decoration is modern, unique, and radiant.
One customer, Airik Bogurskiy, enjoys his first time at Sips + Maker with a cappuccino. He explains how nice it is to finally have a place like this in Staten Island, as he has only seen similar coffee shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“In this area of Staten Island, the only options I have to go and get coffee are Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Tim Horton’s. I would much rather support a small business than those big name chain coffee places.”
Airik goes on to say he loves the atmosphere at Sips + Maker, and will be back soon since this seems like the perfect place to get work done.
Estera puts a great deal of effort into maintaining a sustainable business in all aspects. For example, she sells coffee that comes from a reliable brand, Joe’s Coffee Company, that works to ensure their product is high quality, fairtrade, and traceable.
Many coffee drinkers don’t know where their coffee comes from or how poorly employees are treated by the majority of coffee corporations. This means that there is no say as to whether or not those coffee grinds contain dirt or other contaminants. Many employees in larger coffee corporations work in unfair working conditions and many others are not being paid a fair wage.
Joe’s Coffee Company’s website states, “At Joe, we are committed to making certain that every green coffee transaction is both fair and traceable. In addition to purchasing coffee directly from producers, Joe also works with importers, exporters and brokers who are equally committed to selling coffee that can be traced back to the farmer, group, or cooperative.”
The site continues to say, “Through a traceable supply chain, we can ensure that farmers are paid well above both commodity prices and fair trade minimums for the coffees we buy.”
Adriana Robledo, a fellow New Drop resident near Sips + Maker, comes in as often as she can. She usually orders a caramel latte and does her school work. Among the many things she likes about the shop are the decorations and the environment.
Adriana explains how she adores the owner and employees, she continues, “The people here are so nice and friendly, I also like that they listen to their customers wishes and add things to their menu based on requests.”
Sips + Maker is so much more than a peaceful cafe, the half of the store that is a design market holds a number of creative gifts for all kinds of shoppers. There are books, children’s toys, clothes, gardening kits, raw honey, jewelry, engraved wooden greeting cards, and much more.
They encourage responsible shopping and focus on working with certified fair trade, impact driven companies. Part of their purpose is to help developing countries with hopes of positively affecting others.
This one of a kind market does not only sell products made in other countries, but it supports small businesses throughout the U.S. as well. They sell goods from states like California,Vermont, Virginia, and of course right here in NYC from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
In the center of a display of specially crafted products, Estera has a sign defining what fair-trade is to her customers.
“Fair trade certified companies, or those that ascribe to fair- trade values, aim to show honor and respect to their fellow humans by providing workers with honest and fair wages, fair treatment, and clean and safe working conditions.”
Estera states Sips + Maker is “making the world a better place one purchase at a time,” and Staten Island is fortunate to have a business like hers in our borough.