Alexander M. Pedro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets, Compass Coffee co-founders Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez, and Gretchen Wharton join city officials on Jan. 12 to celebrate the opening of D.C.'s homegrown coffee shop Compass Coffee in the lobby of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest. (Demetrious Kinney)

Compass Coffee, a member of the District’s “Made in DC” business-growth program, celebrated its opening in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest, showing the city’s promise to promote local businesses.

Events DC President and CEO Gregory A. O’Dell and board Chairman Max Brown joined city officials Thursday, Jan. 12 to mark the opening of D.C.’s homegrown coffee shop in the center’s grand lobby.

“In staying true to our mission to provide a unique experience for our visitors, we couldn’t be more excited about the arrival of Compass Coffee, a local ‘Made in DC’ business inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center,” Brown said. “As a local business owner myself, I vowed to support local D.C. businesses in my role at Events DC, as an avenue to further drive D.C.’s growth, prosperity and entrepreneurship.

“The addition of this local food and beverage experience inside the Convention Center reinforces our long-term vision to stay ahead of industry trends in a competitive market and provide a one-of-a-kind offering that you can’t get in other cities,” Brown said. “And importantly, to also support local businesses and local business owners.”

The Made in DC program, an initiative of the city’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, aims to support and promote businesses that design, make, produce or assemble products in the District.

Events DC said the Compass Coffee opening milestone reinforces their focus on creating enriching collaborations with local businesses and entrepreneurs — one of the keys to powering the District’s economic engine.

They also have a goal to generate heightened visibility for the city, its venues and respective offerings from retail to technology and place making.

The effort aims to attract more unique and diverse event and entertainment options for both residents and visitors alike to experience and enjoy.

“It’s truly exciting to welcome a local ‘Made in DC’ business, Compass Coffee, to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center,” O’Dell said. “As the official convention and sports authority, Events DC is committed to supporting the District’s local business community — as they are vital components to the continued development of our city’s local footprint and flourishing economy.

“This milestone not only enhances the visitor experience that we will be able provide to our guests — but also opens up doors for our venue to remain competitive on a global platform and local opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship prosperity across the District,” O’Dell said.

This will be the fifth Compass Coffee location in the District. The company was founded by two former Marines and D.C. natives in the historic Shaw neighborhood of D.C., where the Convention Center resides.

“We’re thrilled that Compass Coffee has this opportunity to serve and represent D.C. to the many local, national and international guests who attend the Convention Center each year,” Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez, co-founders of Compass Coffee, said in a statement.

At the Convention Center location, Compass Coffee will showcase several of the drinks from its seasonal menu, including the Nutella Mocha, Butterscotch Latte, Cardinal Blend and Emblem Espresso, as well as other “Made in DC” pastries, fresh sandwiches, salads and items from local vendors.

“It’s our goal to offer food and beverage options that reflect and celebrate Washington, D.C.’s strong local food culture,” said Centerplate Vice President Nick Biello. “The addition of D.C.’s own Compass Coffee to the Grand Lobby will ensure all of our guests can have a true taste of D.C. during their visit to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.”

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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