Vintage Coffee, owned and managed by Alan and Carie Swan, offers organic and fairly traded coffee and tea in Oklahoma City. It was recently featured as one of seven coffee shops to try in Oklahoma City and Edmond.
Owners Carie and Alan first met while they attended Oklahoma Christian University. Although Alan finished his advertising degree at the University of Central Oklahoma, Carie graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1995 with an advertising design degree.
According to Carie, she and Alan opened Vintage Coffee in April 2007. After struggling at a location in Edmond for five years, Carie said they relocated to their current location in Oklahoma City, which was a blessing.
“(Alan’s) always wanted to have his own place,” Carie said. “He didn’t know what it was going to look like at first. We originally thought maybe we would have a café where we’d cook and serve food, or sandwiches and be a deli, or something.
“He did a bunch of research, because he’s a research kind of guy, and went, ‘You know what, I want a place where a kid could be when we have kids.’ And then we got pregnant and had a baby, and we wanted her to be able to be a part of this. That was in the very developmental stage. So we thought, what would we be able to do that would be a family place—not just a restaurant that had liquor. Coffee just started looking more and more promising.”
Carie said as Alan’s business partner she pays the taxes and runs shifts when she works at the coffee shop, but Alan does all the rest, including the ordering and deciding what products to use. Carie also runs an upholstery business in her garage, which she said occupies most of her time.
All of Vintage Coffee’s social media is run by Alan, and Carie said it is their only form of advertisement. She said they strive to offer healthy and chemical-free products to customers, which makes them different from other coffee shops in the area.
“We don’t want to put [chemicals] into our bodies, so why would we be forcing our customers to?” Carie said. “So we did research and realized most of what we’re paying for is sugar water. Why can’t I make my own sugar water and come up with a concentrate instead? So that’s what we’ve changed to. Now, all of our flavors have no sugar in them, so our customers can decide which type of sugar—healthy options, like honey and agave—they want in their drink instead of Splenda or Equal. That’s what makes us very different, I think. I don’t know anyone else doing that.”
Vintage Coffee offers over 24 flavors without chemicals. In order to focus their attention on coffee, Carie said they partner with Brown’s Bakery and Ingrid’s Kitchen for pastries.
According to Carie, owning a coffee shop was not in her original plans after college. She said she realized her senior year she hated advertising design and wanted to do something with her hands instead of working on a computer.
“I worked for a company that hand sewed $30,000 area rugs,” Carie said. “It was kind of fun—I learned a lot and got to meet a lot of designers. We did very ornate designs, and I worked there for a couple years.”
While she was at Oklahoma Christian, Carie said she was a Summer Singer, a member of Gamma Rho and a backup singer and co-director for Spring Sing.
“I’m always running into someone who has that Oklahoma Christian connection, and it’s like a little family,” Carie said. “I was able to meet my spouse and look back on some pretty awesome years of having fun and knowing that I was in a safe environment but still able to cut loose and have fun. I loved Oklahoma Christian, and I hope one of my kids wants to go there some day.”