Image via Hannah Linkowsky.
Are you looking for a new coffee shop to try in town? Perfect, because this past Friday, March 3, was the grand opening of West Chester’s newest spot to relax, do homework and enjoy a cup of coffee — Mayday. Growing up in the Downingtown/Chester Springs area, Austin Piona decided he needed to make a change in regards to the mental health struggles he has seen in the community. Being in the coffee business since he was sixteen, he had always dreamed of starting up Mayday. After graduating from University of San Diego with a finance and real estate degree, he did just that.
Talking to Piona, he gave an insight into what went into the idea of this craft coffee and flower shop, and the difference he wants to make in this community.
“Growing up, there wasn’t much for me to do outside of the normal average things. I thought there should be a place to go do homework, you can go hang out with friends, you can go build community, you should feel inspired by the inside design, food and drinks. Mayday means, ‘come and help me,’ and the month of May is mental health awareness, so I wanted to make sure the name coincided with our mission, and remind us why we are doing what we are doing. Everyone has their own mental health journey and story, and this is really about being a place that we can feel reinspired, reenergized, rejuvenated and just having a safe space to talk.”
Speaking of food and drinks, Mayday has a lot to bring to the table. Their craft coffees are one of a kind, diving deep into the taste profiles of the beans they use for their pour over menu. They also serve the traditional coffee drinks, macchiatos, cappuccinos americanos, lattes etc. They serve all their drinks in one sized standardized cup, because the sizing can change the drink entirely. Instead of using artificial high fructose corn syrups, Mayday offers their house made syrups with artificial additives, explained Piona. Besides coffee, they offer matcha, acai bowls and an entire menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Besides coffee, the interior design of Mayday is curated and designed with purpose. Their tables come from San Diego, their retail includes things that you can’t find anywhere around here, and the concept of flowers and coffee comes from Southern California. The idea to bring flowers into their shop ties back to the mental health within the community. Mayday is to be a place where you can pop in and get flowers for your desk, for a friend, for anyone or anything. The idea behind this is that it can be as easy as picking up your morning coffee, and you can grab some flowers to brighten up your day as well. Piona noted the importance of this — bringing together different and amazing things from all over to create this environment.
“It’s much more than a coffee shop, it’s a flower shop, it’s a retail shop, it’s a private even area, it’s a place to enjoy great drinks and food, most importantly, it’s a place to come together and build community.”
Lauren Beachy is a third-year media and culture major with a minor in communication studies. LB946715@wcupa.edu