When John began working at a coffee shop while attending college he never expected coffee to become his career. Flash forward a few years, and John is the proud owner of Tynan Coffee & Tea, a bustling cafe positioned in the heart of Columbia Heights. Tynan is a place where commuters grab their quick fix on the way into work, neighbors come to meet friends, and professionals come for meetings or to get some work done using the shop’s complimentary Wi-Fi. John believes Tynan should always be a place where anyone in the community is welcome, and his commitment to the neighborhood can be seen every day – especially in allowing CentroNía to launch ¡Buen Provecho! A Taste of Columbia Heights at Tynan.
John was born in Botswana and lived there with his family, including his identical twin brother, while he was young. As he grew up, his family moved around a lot. John and his family would eventually land in Washington, DC where he and his brother attended high school. John has always lived in or around Columbia Heights, and he now calls Petworth home. When he’s not working at Tynan, John enjoys visiting many of the neighboring businesses—whether it’s grabbing drinks with friends after work at The Wonderland Ballroom on 11th Street or having lunch at Los Hermanos around the corner.
John is on a first-name basis with many customers who come to Tynan every day–something John has always loved about the coffee shop environment. Regulars share their stories and keep him updated on their lives. For John, this is what makes owning Tynan so special. Tynan’s customers represent the diversity of the neighborhood and he’s happy to be able to take care of people from all walks of life. In fact, CentroNía staff are loyal Tynan customers and many visit every day to get coffee—which is why participating in ¡Buen Provecho! is an important way for John to give back.
“A typical day at Tynan starts very early since we open at 6:30 AM for the commuting rush,” says John. “Every day before we open we also welcome local vendors who bring their fresh pastries and bagels. Some of our vendors include Bullfrog Bagels, Whisked, Rise Gluten Free Bakery, and Lyon Bakery. It’s important to me that Tynan offers fresh products every day and I partner with local businesses as much as possible.”
Being a local himself means John is aware of how the neighborhood is changing, and he’s always trying to find ways to create a sense of community in his business. You’ll notice art for sale on the walls from local artists, and in the back you’ll see a well-trafficked community board where local artists, businesses, and community members will share upcoming events and announcements. Even in sourcing his coffee beans, John partnered with Orinioco, a local roaster owned by three brothers who source their beans from all over the world. At the end of the day, whenever possible, all left over pastries are donated to area afterschool programs so they can be given to students as snacks. For John, being a coffee shop owner is more than selling coffee and great food, it’s about being a place where the community can come together.