Three local pop-up businesses have debuted a joint storefront in Jamaica Plain, and it’s a one-stop shop for freshly roasted coffee, handmade “pop-tarts” and cookies, and new and used vinyl records. Monumental Market quietly opened this week, serving as a home base for the farmers’ market regulars El Colombiano Coffee, Lavender Bee Baking Co., and Light of Day Records. The unique bakery-café plans grand opening specials for Valentine’s Day, and regular hours will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Javier Amador-Peña and Kelsey Munger—founders of El Colombiano Coffee and Lavender Bee Baking Co., respectively—met years ago on the farmers’ market scene. Both dreamed of growing their businesses with brick-and-mortar locations, but the reality is that’s an expensive proposition in Greater Boston, Munger says. So the duo teamed up to share the rent burden together, and last year got the keys to turn the former Monumental Cupcakes into a nut-free coffeeshop.
Initial plans also called for ice cream, but the team has pivoted and instead signed on Light of Day Records. A pop-up operation by local musician and brand consultant Chris Antonowich, Light of Day began at the Egleston Square Farmers Market in 2018 and has since appeared at countless breweries and pop-up markets around Boston.
At Monumental Market, folks can browse Light of Day’s curated selection of new and used vinyl records while they wait for their latte, or stand at the drink rail in the windows overlooking South Street and listen to music while enjoying a fresh hand pie, cookie, cupcake, or muffin from the bakery case. Later this spring, Antonowich plans to integrate after-hours music-focused programming, as well—think: listening parties, local record release events, vinyl swaps, themed music exploration nights, and potentially even in-store performances from local singer-songwriters.
“Monumental Market was founded on honoring our farmers’ markets roots, being able to support local vendors and artists, and creating a cool vibrant community space,” Munger says. She adds that the new space will allow Lavender Bee Baking Co. to expand its lineup of allergy-friendly products with more gluten-free and vegan options. She also plans to introduce breakfast sandwiches, and packaged, nut-free granola in the future, she says.
El Colombiano is also able to offer more in-store: Besides his typical lineup of bags of locally roasted coffee beans, drip coffee, and cold brew, Amador-Peña is now serving a full range of espresso drinks (with oat milk as a dairy-free option), as well as specials, like tinto, a sweetened black coffee drink popular in his native Colombia.
Both Lavender Bee and El Colombiano plan to continue appearing at the Brookline Farmers’ Market on Thursdays this spring, as well as the Waltham Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, Munger adds. “We love the people, the customers. It’s hard to say goodbye even with our own space,” she says. Light of Day Records will also continue to pop up at markets and breweries once or twice per month, Antonowich says.
Amador-Peña worked closely with the team’s contractor, Erise Builders, to redesign and build out the café. The renovations took nearly a year longer than the team initially anticipated, and Munger says the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation has been an immense support throughout the process.
The ordering counter now lines the left-hand side of the small space, while a new glass window allows guests to peek into the kitchen located at the back of the room. Light-colored, reclaimed wood and wrought-iron pipes make for a natural, subtle backdrop for Munger’s pastry cases, while scenes of the sun and moonrise, hand-painted by local artist Kyia Watkins of At Peace Arts, add bright pops of color to Light of Day’s record shelves across from the ordering counter. While there are no seats inside the intimate café, “we’ve created a really warm and welcoming space we can’t share with people,” Munger says.
Monumental Market quietly opened this week with limited hours, which continue Thursday, Feb. 13, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. On Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14—which also happens to be co-owner Amador-Peña’s birthday—it’s open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. with festive decorations, and free mini cupcakes and tasters of coffee for the first 100 guests. It’s open again this Saturday, Feb. 15, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., then will close on Sunday and Monday, which will be the cafe’s typical days off. It reopens for real on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9-6 p.m.
36 South St., Jamaica Plain, monumentalmarket.com.
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