FORT WORTH, Texas — Something’s brewing in Northside Fort Worth…
Along Central Avenue, Casa Azul, or ‘The Blue House,’ is taking off less than six months after owner Joseph Landers opened the Latino-owned coffee shop.
“It feels great,” said Landeros.
Thursday afternoon, a line of customers suddenly formed during the lunch hour with people eager to get their midday coffee fix.
“It's pretty humbling really,” said Landeros.
In 2021, he quit his job as a barista at Starbucks and opened up a coffee shop inspired by the home Frida Kahlo grew up in. Landeros and his wife decided to open their coffee shop in a predominantly-Latino neighborhood.
They serve coffee, but community is the focus.
“It's a sense of ownership within the community… something that communities can really hang their hat on,” said Landeros.
It was said the Northside community needed a coffee ship and gathering place within walking distance.
Now, there’s a big push to help small businesses in the historic neighborhood.
Arnoldo Hurtado, a community leader, recently launched the Northside Fort Worth website. It highlights Northside’s artists, creatives and small businesses and gives them a platform to attract new customers.
“All I want to see is my community thrive. I mean, it's as simple as that,” said Hurtado.
The website lists 22 small business owners in its business directory. Additionally, it features a blog spot to highlight the work of entrepreneurs in the community. Hurtado said there are plans to expand the website even more.
Hurtado runs a Northside community Facebook page that has garnered more than 12,000 followers. It serves as a space for neighbors to stay informed and engage in a dialogue.
Hurtado, who grew up in Northside, said he wants Fort Worth to embrace Northside as it is.
“There is an existing community,” said Hurtado.
That’s the reason he launched the new website. He wants people from everywhere to know that Northside has something to offer.
“There's so much culture and so much identity,” said Hurtado.
In the past, Hurtado and other leaders in the community raised concerns over revitalization plans. They worried that new development would lead to gentrification.
City leaders have argued that’s not the case, but Hurtado said he feels responsible for bringing his community together to prevent it from happening.
“It's very important that we highlight the community, because it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of development and the new, new, new,” said Hurtado.
“But it’s also very important to pay homage to the people who really laid down the groundwork,” said Hurtado.
It’s a grassroots efforts to build up the community by uplifting those who live and work in it. He said the groundwork begins with supporting unique businesses like Casa Azul.
“It’s offering people my culture and the chance to experience new flavors and styles of coffee,” said Landeros.
He hopes to keep pouring into this community one cup at a time.