Three people moved from Seattle to Fredericksburg in 1994 with the idea of opening a place that would become a community gathering spot that served great coffee.
Back then, there were only two Starbucks in the nation’s capital, and Ana Brugos, her husband Dan Peterson and their friend Steve Sollien weren’t sure people would understand what they were trying to do.
Today, Hyperion Espresso, the coffee shop they opened at the corner of William and Princess Anne streets, is a local fixture and is hitting the quarter-century mark.
It will kick off its 25th anniversary celebrations at 4 p.m. today with a ribbon cutting ceremony that will include Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. It will also be the opening for an art exhibit that will run through September. In addition, Hyperion will host live performances each Sunday in August.
“It’s been an amazing 25 years serving coffee and gathering friends in Fredericksburg and we’d love to share the memories and good times,” said Brugos, who owns the coffee shop with her husband.
Fredericksburg artist and teacher Bill Harris curated the art exhibit, which will feature works about Hyperion. They’ll include its handsome brick exterior and bright red awning as well as the people who work and gather inside.
“My message to him was, ‘I want local artists who have a little bit of our story to tell,” Brugos said.
The musicians, who will be there each Sunday in August, will be local as well. Some played at Hyperion back in the day when it used to host live performances, and some will be younger groups to show the coffee shop’s evolution over the years, she said.
“We’ve had customers met, marry, have children and now their children are coming [to Hyperion],” Brugos said. “It’s a little bit about that.”
The music series will be held from 2–4 p.m. every Sunday, and end with a double show. FredNot (aka askFred), a funk and folk group, will play Aug. 4; The McTell Brothers, an indie/rock/blues/folk/Americana band, will play Aug. 11; and the Adaptations, a soul/rock/funk/folk/blues/country, band, will play Aug. 18. On Aug. 25, Cori Blanch, an acoustic soul singer, will perform from 2–4 p.m. and country singer Karen Jonas will perform from 4–6 p.m.
Hyperion got its start when Brugos and Peterson moved to the ’Burg along with Sollien, who was studying historic preservation at what is now the University of Mary Washington. They brought with them the tradition on the West Coast and Spain, where Brugos is from, of gathering at coffee shops with family and friends. They also got their beans from Espresso Vivace, a small roaster in Seattle that they still use today.
The Fredericksburg area was growing, and Hyperion grew along with it, Brugos said. Sollien, however, left and went back to Minnesota after graduation.
Brugos and Peterson, who once did everything with his help, now have a staff of “great employees” and a manager, Amanda Jones, who shares their philosophy of making sure customers feel welcome, she said.
“The community has welcomed us and stayed with us,” Brugos said. “We feel that 25 years is kind of an achievement.”