EAST MANATEE -- Bring your computer, your textbooks, your iPod.
Spread out, settle in for a few hours. The baristas don't mind.
At The Coffee Loft Too, burning an afternoon at one of the shop's many tables is the norm.
The Coffee Loft Too, The Coffee Loft's newest location inside Woodland Community Church, opened last month. The original Coffee Loft on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota has been so successful the church, which owns both shops, decided to open a second store.
"We want to provide a place for people in Lakewood Ranch and throughout the county to come and meet and enjoy the best coffee in the area," said Woodland Community Church Pastor Tim Passmore.
Passmore said he hopes to draw new customers in East Manatee to use the shop for work or study, just as the Sarasota location has become a hub for work and play.
"There's no pressure of going there and leaving because there's
a lack of space. There's plenty of room for people to come in and stay as long as they want," Passmore said.
Heather Burlingame had been working from the shop since 8 a.m. Wednesday. Burlingame, who works from home, is building a house in nearby community GreyHawk Landing and needed a place to go to work.
"It's a wonderful atmosphere and the food is great," she said.
Running the nonprofit Coffee Loft in Sarasota is an expensive venture, Passmore said. Revenue from the East Manatee shop will be reinvested to keep the other store open. Any profits will go toward church causes such as Charity Water, a group that builds wells around the world for underprivileged communities.
The Coffee Loft Too will feature the same extensive menu as the Sarasota location, including classic coffee drinks such as lattes, cappucinos and frappes. There's also smoothies, teas and a concoction called an Irish Fizz, Passmore's favorite.
Zach Burke, an intern minister and barista at the shop, was making an Irish Fizz Wednesday afternoon. Burke poured Irish cream, iced coffee, a can of Coke and some half and half into a glass, shook it and topped it with a dollop of whipped cream.
"It's definitely one of our most popular drinks," he said.
The Coffee Loft Too also has an array of house-made dishes such as quiche, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, hummus, assorted pastries and bagels.
The quality of the product, Passmore said, sets The Coffee Loft apart from corporate coffee houses.
"All the meat is hand cut, all the cheeses, all the sauces are fresh and made by staff," Passmore said.
So far, business has been substantial, Passmore said. Woodland Community Church has more than 3,000 members with several social and recreational groups. When a service or groups meet, the shop is a place to visit and have a snack.
"This is a big deal. It's not that the church threw something together. We want it to be a good quality experience," he said.
The Coffee Loft Too is at 9607 State Road 70 inside Woodland Community Church. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.