Globehopper: an indie coffeehouse that RVA just can’t do without

You wanna go where everybody knows your name…and nowhere is that more true than at Shockoe Bottom’s own Globehopper Coffeehouse & Lounge.

You wanna go where everybody knows your name…and nowhere is that more true than at Shockoe Bottom’s own Globehopper Coffeehouse & Lounge. With its inviting, homey atmosphere; friendly, knowledgeable staff; and veritable horde of fiercely-dedicated regulars, Globehopper is the kind of place you can see yourself growing old with.

Since its establishment in 2008, Globehopper has become the Bottom’s premiere location for French-press coffee, traditional espresso beverages, monthly drink specials, live music, community events, neighborly chit-chat, and the kind of hyper-local interaction we city dwellers crave.

Now approaching their sixth anniversary. The women in charge of Globehopper are still hard at work slinging espresso for the caffeine-craving denizens of Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, and the surroundings communities. But how did it all come together?

Well for starters, it helps to have two highly successful founders, co-owners, and entrepreneurs like Erin Helland and Jenn Crenshaw at the helm. With years of managerial and service-related experience and a shared passion for specialty coffee, launching an independently-owned, socially-responsible coffeeshop in a city like Richmond seemed like a no brainer. Globehopper Coffeehouse & Lounge was officially open for business in February of 2008.

But who would govern the day to day operations of this new indie coffeehouse in the Bottom? Who would have the experience and understanding required to unite new, impressionable baristas under a single, unified vision of a Richmond made brighter by Central American blends and dark caramel Italian roasts like some caffeine-fueled Superwoman?

Enter Kimmy Certa, Globehopper’s general manager and the staunchest coffee advocate this side of the James River. If DC-based burlesque sideshow performer Mab Just Mab and feminist icon Gertrude Stein had a lovechild, her name would be Kimmy Certa, and she’d really want to make you a traditional six-ounce Italian cappucino and a peanut-butter bacon cookie.

By June of 2008, the trio was firmly in place, all working together to transform a small upstart into the indie coffeehouse that the Richmond community couldn’t do without–the kind of establishment that fosters inclusivity while celebrating individuality. And now, almost six years later, their work has paid off.

That’s not to say that barista-culture is without controversy.

“The world of specialty coffee is predominately a boy’s club,” Certa said. “I started working in the coffee industry in 1994 and even today, I’ll get the occasional gentleman who comes into the shop and times how long it takes me to pull an espresso shot.”

Founder and co-owner Erin discussed her own unique experience.
“In my fifteen years in the coffee industry,” she said, “I’ve learned that too often, positions labeled as a ‘craft’ are still perceived as a male pastime, and that includes being a skilled barista.”

But at the end of the day, the women in charge don’t spend much time worrying about faulty assumptions or old habits. For them, it’s about what it’s always been about: Globehopper’s oft-repeated mission statement of Coffee, Culture, and Community.

And nearly six years on, it is this yeoman-like dedication to the art of serving great coffee that has kept the bellies of community residents filled to the brim with Globehopper’s unique espresso creations.

“I’m proud of all the work we’ve done and everything that we continue to do,” Certa said. “Our staff, patrons, and regulars make Globehopper the much-loved spot that it is, and we wouldn’t be who we are without them.”

Photo courtesy of: Globehopper

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Eric Steigleder

Eric Steigleder is a freelance writer, political junkie, coffee-addict and proud Globehopper regular.

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  1. There could be something like this in Oregon hill if it wasn’t for the nimbys. Bring commercial zoning back to Oregon hill.

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