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Spur Coffee Ltd. has designs on a new niche

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Couple blend coffee shop, meeting space in new venture

By Beth Potter

The Venters got tired of vying for meeting space at a busy Starbucks, so they decided to open their own coffee shop in downtown Littleton.

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The result is Spur, a Littleton hipster spot with a decidedly European flavor. Spur Coffee Ltd. has a coffee bar with its own pastry case, and a meeting room that opened in November. The Venters’ design studio, co-working space and coffee shop  is in a former beauty school at 5624 S. Prince St., a block north of Littleton’s trendy downtown restaurants and shops.

Tyler Venter pilots the coffee bar’s espresso machine, creating lattes for customers that feature unique designs in the foamed milk, as well as other specialty coffee drinks. He’s also the Web designer for the design company owned by parents Tandi and Marcel Venter. He created Spur’s Web pages — hellospur.com, spurspace.com and spurcoffee.com.

Customers often say they had seen the coffee bar through the windows in recent years and wanted to come inside, said Tandi Venter. The coffee bar now is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The Venters moved to Colorado from Johannesburg in 2001. They set up the design studio in Littleton several years ago. The company reflects the best of what Littleton has to offer — an appreciation of the past and a sense of community, said John Brackney, chief executive of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a nice space, isn’t it?” Brackney said. “Marcel (Venter) just wants people to come in and have a good cup of coffee.”

On the design side, Spur focuses on company branding, with clients from all over the world, including Littleton. Colorado clients have included Credit Union of Denver (tagline: “Smart. Like You.”) and the Beddin’ Down Bed and Breakfast, which is at the High Rock Ranch near Salida. Design company pricing varies, including an up-front client fee and follow-up billing by the hour.

The name Spur harkens to the Denver area’s history as a “cowtown,” Tandi Venter said. It’s also a play on words — the Venters want to “spur” clients to rebrand themselves.

Spur Space rents desk space to clients for $30 per day or $325 per month. Like the coffee bar, the co-working space is designed to appeal to nearby residents who might work at home and want to get out more, Marcel Venter said.

As the coffee bar continues to grow, the Venters plan to add a commercial kitchen so they can serve iced drinks. They also want to expand seating to a small wooden deck outside.

In the meantime, the coffee bar’s gluten-free coconut chocolate yogurt cake has a devoted following, as do the coffee drinks made with beans from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lakewood.

Tyler Venter compares Spur to the Galvanize work space in Denver (1062 Delaware St.), where start-up companies rent space in a building with a full-service cafe. Similar collaborative-space efforts are popular in places like New York and San Francisco.

“We’re definitely in the ‘figuring-it-out’ stage, which makes every day fun,” Tyler Venter said.

Having the Inside Scoop Creamery ice cream shop next door and a parking lot behind the building doesn’t hurt, Tyler Venter said. Parents like to bring their kids for ice-cream cones next door and get coffee at Spur, he said.

“It has been a hit so far,” Tyler Venter said. “Littleton is becoming a younger community, and they want a cooler place to hang out.”

Contact Beth Potter at beth@evergreenco.com