Occupying a modest 300 square feet in one of downtown Philadelphia’s most heavily foot-trafficked locations, multi-retailer Arterial Agents has opened in Jewelers Row, with coffee being the lifeblood.
The shop is led by proprietor Nick DeJulius and a silent partner, offering coffee and espresso drinks alongside fresh baked goods from no fewer than three bakery partners, and retail items such as upscale lifestyle magazines and non-perishable specialty grocery items from Philadelphia’s Green Aisle Grocery.
Not suited to excessive lingering or laptop squatting — there are no tables for seating — the shop is a greatly scaled-down version of what the hospitality-minded business partners initially conceived as a multipurpose retail destination, event space and co-working environment.
“We would have needed a lot more funds to do something that size, so we realized we needed to bring down some of the costs and cut down the empty spaces that we couldn’t fill with programming,” said DeJulius, who brings to the venture several years of upscale hospitality experience in hotels and restaurants.
Coffee, however, has always been part of the program. “Coffee is really community-driven,” DuJulius said. “And it’s very comforting, and it brings people in every day, either for comfort or addiction, however you want to look at it.”
Arterial Agents offers a small, traditional espresso menu supported by a vintage refurbished Faema espresso machine, as well as batch brews. The espresso machine is named Dorothy, a tribute to whom DeJulius described as “the sturdiest and the sassiest of the ‘Golden Girls.'”
Arterial Agents is also working with Green Aisle for its own custom syrups, including a kaffir lime and cardamom creation that DeJulius said pairs particularly well with the shop’s house-brewed cold brew and iced teas. All the shop’s coffee is being supplied by Annapolis, Md.-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters.
“There are great roasters in Philly, but we kind of wanted to show that Philly could handle an outsider,” DeJulius said, adding that he was first impressed by Ceremony’s coffee and customer service while working at a Ceremony-supplied restaurant. “There are some really great roasters here, but I think that us being new gave us an opportunity to present something new.”
Arterial Agents is now open at 700 Sansom St., just off the Southwest corner of SW 7th St in City Center Philadelphia.