When Jason Cox and Brett DeVries decided to open Press—a spot for crepes, coffee, and cocktails—in a former general store building in downtown Graham, in 2016, the idea was “a downtown revitalization project disguised as a business.”
Crepes, a popular French street food, are available in over a dozen savory and sweet options on the Press menu, alongside an Italian espresso menu in the morning and a cocktail list in the evening, making the spot a busy destination for both brunch and dates.
The unorthodox business formula succeeded in Graham—a small town in Alamance County with a population of less than 20,000—and in 2021, Cox and DeVries opened a second location off Blackwell Street, by Durham American Tobacco Campus. This week the business partners have announced a third location in Raleigh’s new 400H building on Hillsborough Street, which they say will open sometime this winter.
Press is the first business to announce tenancy in the 20-story, 365,000-square-foot mixed-use development.
“Press originated from our love of downtowns and the desire to see more vibrant and welcoming places for people to gather,” Cox said in a press release. “As we looked to expand, downtown Raleigh was an obvious choice for a new location and 400H perfectly aligned with our brand. The 400H team had a clear vision not just to develop a beautiful building, but to engage in genuine placemaking.”
The three locations have different personalities—the sleek Blackwell Street location, for instance, is directly beside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and on many days, you can catch Bulls players ducking in for a crepe or two—but the coffee, crepes, and cocktails formula has proved adaptable across downtowns.
“Each location will be its own place in its space and part of its community,” Cox told the INDY over the phone, adding that he’s excited by the forthcoming Raleigh location’s Hillsborough Street space, and proximity to spots like State of Beer and Taverna Agora. “I’m just very bullish on the potential of that area. Not just with projects that are in the works, but just it’s a good little spot to be inside the city.”
Ultimately, Cox says, he’s delighted the business bet has paid off.
“The idea was, effectively, if this weird blue building with this coffee-shop-creperie in downtown Graham works, then my crazy idea isn’t so crazy, because this thing’s working,” Cox says. “No amount of market research would’ve said, “we want a coffee shop creperie” in a survey.”
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