By VINCE REMBULAT
STOCKTON — Efrain and Laura Garcia opened Terra Coffee Roasters about three weeks ago.
They were not only welcomed by the local business folks but, Laura said, they were given the name “The Terra Kids.”
Of course, this had to do with the young age of the businessowners. They’re part of a trend of millennials who are investing in downtown Stockton.
Terra Coffee Roasters joined The Deliberation Room bar and restaurant, Cast Iron Trading Company restaurant, Channel Brewing Company, and the soon-be-reopened Trail Coffee Roasters as part of the under-40 entrepreneurs.
Millennials are also known as Generation Y and sometimes referred to as “echo boomers” given the major surge in birth rates that took place in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Terra Kids actually founded their specialty coffee bean roasting company in 2016.
That was the same year in which then 36-year-old attorney Jacob Benguerel took a chance on a dilapidated single-story building with an 18-foot ceiling at 19 N. California St. and fashioned The Deliberation Room as an early 1930s speakeasy.
Alex Thompson, who was 26 at the time, wrote a check for $24.999 to purchase an otherwise decrepit Henery Apartments in 2016. The self-described architectural historian and occasional contractor is looking to restore the six-story landmark building at 121 S. Sutter St. “one brick at a time, if need be,” he said.
Thompson’s focus is to maintain the integrity of not just his aging building – the Henery Apartments opened in 1913 with many of the original pieces still intact – but those around him.
His building is located next door to the Masonic Lodge at 340 E. Market St., built in 1922 featuring an elaborate Gothic-influenced design at the recessed entrance. It’s also home to the Mexican Heritage Center, where the Terra Kids just opened their business.
Thompson helped the Garcias do electrical work of wiring the modern energy-efficient light fixtures – these mimicked that of the period’s Spanish Revival-style around the coffee bar.
Terra Coffee Roasters has the high ceilings characteristic of many of the downtown buildings. Laura Garcia said, for now, that the coffee house will be open Monday through Friday during the regular daytime business hours.
The Deliberation Room along with Cast Iron and Channel Brew are among the places that have become the stomping grounds for, not just the young, but people of all ages.
The Deliberation Room offers live music on most weekends and other entertainment, including a comedy showcase not too long ago that featured Manteca’s own Chris Teicheira along with Saul Trujillo.
Cast Iron and Channel Brew occupy the century-old Belding Building on the corner of North San Joaquin Street and East Weber Avenue located directly across the San Joaquin County Administration Building.
Eric Lee and Tommy Morgan are owners of the Cast Iron, which, a few months ago, celebrated its one-year anniversary.
Folks gathered inside and outside of the business to hear the likes of local musicians Phillip Bailey Moncrease and Geovane Brooks, among others.
Next door, Channel Brew at 110 N. San Joaquin St. is getting ready to celebrate its one-year mark on March 24 with music, games, food and other surprises.
Billy Chaddock was 27 in 2016 when he fronted a group of fellow twentysomething year-olds, getting the ball rolling on opening up this downtown business.
They have a red triangle logo inspired by history.
“When ship return to port and they see that red triangle, it means all is well, and that they are coming home,” according to the Channel Brew Facebook page.
This committed young ownership group echoed the thoughts of the millenniums who believe in the revitalization of downtown, saying: “We want this to be a community that people are proud to live in.”
On Tuesday, Thompson, owner of the historic apartments, was sipping on a fresh cup of Joe at his neighbor’s Terra Coffee Roasters. He observed a group of young school-aged children from the various charter schools that occupy downtown during the weekdays.
“That’s our future – I’m hoping that they’ll continue to build on what we’re trying to do (for downtown),” he said.