The Workshop serves up lattes and sharks teeth
When AUDREY LONGTIN moved to Wrightsville Beach in 2014, she brought her knowledge of what it takes to craft the best coffee to a fun, welcoming space just off the beach.
“I came to Wrightsville Beach in 2014 and rented a room for only a month, but I never left. I completely fell in love with Wrightsville Beach,” says Longtin (above).
“I was raised in the restaurant industry. My mom owns an Italian restaurant in Montreal where I grew up. I learned the culture of coffee at a young age from authentic Italians, which made me extremely picky when it comes to ordering coffee in coffee shops.
She opened THE WORKSHOP last summer in a cozy space right behind Trolly Stop Hot Dogs.
This is not just any coffee shop. It combines Longtin’s love of great coffee and her fascination with scuba diving.
“I have been diving for only three years but got into scuba really fast,” she says. “I got scuba certified here in Wrightsville Beach.”
That led to an interest in shark teeth.
“The first time I went tooth hunting really changed everything for me,” she says. “The challenge and excitement you get out of it is unbeatable. While I was in the process of getting permits to start my coffee shop, all I was doing was going shark tooth hunting with my boyfriend and instructor, Chris, so after a while, we accumulated quite a collection. This was when I decided to start making jewelry with the teeth we recovered and then decided to sell my jewelry in the shop.”
(She also sells her handmade jewelry online as well and ships worldwide at www.erajewelrydesign.com.)
Longtin prides herself in her attention to detail and makes sure those who represent her at The Workshop focus on quality as well.
“Everything at the shop is made with love, and I am a woman of details,” she says. “Every little step in the process of making coffee, smoothies, or sandwiches matters to me to create a high-quality product. Our sandwiches are all panini pressed, which makes a huge difference compared to a regular sandwich. Toasty and melted are the two criteria to respect before serving our sandwiches.”
She also created a signature coffee menu, including a lavender and honey latte, a bulletproof coffee, and a chai made with cinnamon and cracked pepper.
The gourmet sandwiches served at The Workshop are a recent addition to the shop.
Those who discovered The Workshop when it opened last summer now find themselves happily waiting in line for a jolt.
“The business has exploded this summer compared to last summer,” Longtin says. “Now, more and more people know about the shop, even though there are people coming every day for the first time.”
Longtin says she has a number of projects in mind for The Workshop's future.
While many businesses in the beach towns might worry about off-season traffic, Longtin estimates that about 90 percent of her business comes from locals, not tourists.
“In the big weekend rushes when there’s a line to the door, I really love to see all the locals – friends and family members that have been coming to Wrightsville Beach for years and people working in businesses around,” she says. “That is why The Workshop is becoming a destination year-round, a locally owned business for local people.”
To view more of photographer Erik Maasch’s work, visit ejmphotography.org.