Coffee & Community
Social Coffee brings fresh roasts and a gathering spot
RACHEL and GIOVANNI ELZY are taking a much-needed break from their busy, caffeinated lives. The owners of Social Coffee and Supply Company on Wrightsville Avenue roast their own beans, create seasonal tastes sensations, and craft events to bring community and coffee together.
And now, on the eve of opening a second location, they’re also expecting a baby.
The original Social, established in 2018, is well-situated for the UNCW crowd. A mild winter day finds the outdoor area peopled by laptops, casual conversation, and groupings of what look like regulars in their habitual spots. Inside, the bright shop features cozy couches, twinkly lights, and an early winter coffee menu: there’s the Jack Frost, aka white peppermint mocha, and the popular Coca Loca.
“Cold brew with chocolate milk and orange syrup,” says Rachel Elzy, widening her eyes. “It’s a good one.”
Social’s second location, coming to Oriole and College, will build on the Wrightsville location’s welcoming vibe. “We wanted another house-style building,” explains Rachel Elzy. “It’ll be homey, in an old brick house, and we’ll have a bigger outdoor area.”
Both locations will offer veggie wagon wraps and sandwiches, pastries and cookies, and gluten-free food choices: “We bring in the foods so we can focus on the coffee,” says Giovanni Elzy.
Originally from Bolivia— “the country, not the city,” he says, with a laugh–Giovanni Elzy grew up in Durham, where he got his start in coffee. Having worked in a variety of cafés, Giovanni became interested in the science of coffee roasting.
Giovanni Elzy’s been roasting Social’s beans for a year now, and coffee junkies can buy their favorite profile in reusable jars, which reduce plastic waste. “We take the bean and pick the profile we want to roast—light, medium, dark—and we roast every Saturday so that we always have fresh coffee,” he explains.
Rachel Elzy’s first coffee gig was at Luna Caffè on 6th and Castle. Taking to the scene, she grew curious about combining coffee with giving back—another of her community passions. Having lived and worked in Mexico through a nonprofit called Global Education Ministries, an organization she still serves, she searched for a way to benefit local nonprofits.
The Ellzeys met through the campus ministry at UNCW, where their shared love of community and charity fueled the dream that became Social.
The business partners with different community organizations throughout the year, including Five14 Revolution, dedicated to bringing “God’s hope, healing, and freedom” to victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Other times, the Ellzeys consult their baristas for a favorite cause, and they’ll plan an event. “We enlist their passions.” says Rachel Elzy, “then we give back.”
And sometimes, says Rachel Elzy, they just pick a cause and start donating. “We have days throughout the year where we’ll be like, ‘Hey, let’s give to this today.’”
Above all, Social builds community through shared experience. Events are as common as fresh-roasted beans, including artisan markets, open mic, and ticketed trivia nights that pack the house.
“At Social, being social is a priority. It’s about having community, a place where people can feel like they belong…we’re known as the place where you run into people you know,” says Rachel Elzy, with a smile. “If you came to do some work, you’ll get none done.”
Look for the third Annual Social on Wrightsville and Grand Opening Celebration of New Location—coming post-baby/in February.
To view more of photographer Daria Amato’s work, go to dariaphoto.com
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