Center for Social Interaction and Pedestrian Activity

Compass Coffee popped up, becoming an instant hit in Fairfax City the moment it opened this spring in the Point 50 mall. And at its recent ribbon cutting, city officials and customers sang its praises.

“We are thrilled that Compass Coffee has come to Fairfax City,” said Mayor David Meyer. “Cafés do more than just serve drinks – they are special places where people meet to make friends and share new ideas. They create a third place outside work and home.

Additionally, he said, “Compass Coffee at Point 50 in our Northfax hub will bring people together as the City continues to support commercial development in this area. With the opening of Compass Coffee and other new businesses in this center, Point 50 will become a hub for social interaction and pedestrian activity.

Agreeing, Fairfax Deputy Director of Economic Development Danette Nguyen said, “Coffee shops are where business is done, friends communicate and families come together over a cup of Joe.”

Co-owners Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez are former Marines. “We became friends at Camp Lejeune and we both served in Afghanistan,” Haft said. “And we’re very proud of our coffee.”

The pair has 14 Compass Coffee locations, including three in Virginia. They import beans from around the world and roast them at their flagship store in Washington, D.C. to create a variety of espresso drinks, signature blends, cold brews, and other craft beverages, including teas. .

“Our Cardinal Blend is our most popular coffee,” Haft said. “And we have a whole barista training program teaching coffee making, customer service, management and leadership skills to interested people so we can promote from within.”

The Fairfax City Café is located at 10400 Fairfax Blvd. at the intersection of University Drive and also serves fresh pastries and other snacks. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday-Sunday, 7am-6pm

“Building took 12 weeks – our fastest ever,” Haft said. “The Fairfax City team was fantastic; everyone was amazing and very professional. We chose Fairfax because it’s a beautiful city and our customers are here. A lot of people from Fairfax work in downtown DC and kept asking, “When are you coming to my neighborhood?” So we knew it would be a popular place.

And, he added, Compass could not have had a better reception here. “Our vibe is a fun community gathering space. We have young families with kids, college students hanging out, and multiple generations here having coffee,” Haft said. “We designed and built all of our furniture. not only do we roast our own coffee, but we also blend our own teas – and even coffee flavors, like vanilla syrup and chocolate sauce.We want everything to taste as good as the coffee.

For cafe manager Steven Pongrace, being here means coming home. “I’ve lived in Fairfax for over 15 years,” he says. “And I am thrilled to connect with this community in a real, tangible way. My team is committed to providing legendary service to every customer. We look forward to building a strong community of regulars at Point 50 Mall. »

He said customers were happy to see Compass open. “Before that, we introduced ourselves to various organizations in the city to let them know we were here,” Pongrace said. “And we gave gift cards to all the teachers in the four schools in town. Now word has spread that we are here to deliver great coffee and hopefully a great experience. Like mehen people get to know us, we see new faces in our cafe every day.

Tabitha Niemann is a regular at Compass in Ballston, but visited the Fairfax location while in town to visit her parents. “I like that it’s locally owned, the coffee is good, and the overall vibe of the store,” she said. “The employees are friendly, the music is good, and the cafe is bright and airy with lots of natural light.”

And that’s on purpose, said Compass design lead Joel Shetterly. “It’s about providing a connection over coffee,” he explained. “From the second you walk through the door, everything – from the music, to the incredible customer service our teams provide, to the way the light fills the cafe, to the taste of roasted coffee in your cup – just clicks away.”

Niemann enjoyed a mocha, while his father, Shawn, had an oatmeal cappuccino. “It’s the perfect balance of oat milk and coffee with a bit of foam,” he said. “It reminds me of Italy.

Her mom, Kristin, was enjoying hot chocolate. “It’s my favorite,” she said. “They mix the chocolate and the milk first – rather than pouring the milk into the chocolate – and it’s just the best.”

Meanwhile, Ra Davis was sipping his cherry blossom iced brew. “It’s tasty,” he said. “And I would recommend this place to others as it’s clean and lively and the coffee is good.”

City Council Member Tom Ross called Compass a “wonderful addition to the Fairfax community”, and Director of Economic Development Chris Bruno agreed.

“It’s a company that values ​​the quality of its product, its space and its community,” Bruno said. “Compass is an important part of the vision for the Northfax region in our city and is a welcoming space where people can come together and enjoy exceptional coffee. »

Steven Pongrace (with glasses, beard and gray shirt) is waiting for a few customers. Photo by Bonnie Hobbs/The Connection

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