Browse By

Shelby Park May Become City’s Newest Hotspot, Starting with the Safais

If Mike and Medora Safai have their way, Shelby Park will become the city’s newest vibrant neighborhood. They’ve already moved their massive coffee roasting operation, Safai Coffee, to the old Axton Candy and Tobacco Company building at the corner of Shelby and Logan.

Mike and Medora Safai. Photo by Bill Brymer

Mike and Medora Safai. Photo by Bill Brymer

But for Mike Safai, a Type A personality with a visionary attitude, the 61,000 square feet he and Medora purchased is a playground for entrepreneurial businesses, many of which he plans to play a major role in helping to create.

“I like any kind of beverage,” he said during a tour of the new space. “The reason I got into the coffee business was that I loved coffee. I paint. I wanted to open a coffee shop and paint, so it was a hobby.”


packaging has been created for Safai’s bourbon

Well, it turns out that Safai also likes beer, and bourbon. And now that he’s got the space, Safai has sectioned off the area where his brewery will go, and he has a bourbon brand that’s already aging. Mike Safai said the brewery, Wild Hops, is scheduled to open in May. He showed me the shell, a giant corner of the warehouse, where brewing equipment is already installed.

The coffee roasting operation, and their coffee shop in the Highlands, together employ 29 people, a number they expect to grow to 40 in the near future. Safai said the roasting operation does about a million pounds of coffee annually for national and international customers, all packaged into single servings that are placed in hotel rooms. He estimates it adds up to 70 million cups a year, and he said he’s close to closing a deal that could nearly double the output.

While the Safais aren’t ready to announce who it is, a bakery operation has made a commitment to move into another part of the building. During our tour, the Safais showed me space for a Farmer’s Market that could operate year-round. And there’s a 5,700-square foot space Mike is saving for a restaurant operator, with a rooftop view.

“There’s big potential in this part of town,” he says. “We have a brewery, in three years we’ll have bourbon that’s aging right now. Then the coffee, the Farmers’ Market. Our goal is to become an anchor here, like the Mall, so other businesses will move down here and build the neighborhood up.”

For Medora, a native Californian who met her husband on the West Coast, the move to Shelby Park from LaGrange represented a big change in lifestyle, reducing their commute to 1.7 miles. She said part of her inspiration for Shelby Park comes from many trips to the Pike Place Market in Seattle.

A brewery will take this spot. Some equipment is already in place.

A brewery will take this spot. Some equipment is already in place.

“The space is a lot bigger than what we needed,” she said. “So we were looking for ideas for some synergy. We love the idea of people coming in and tasting our coffee, and coming in and experimenting, delving into wonderful things that can happen. We want to create a community within the building. We also want to do tours, so people can see what we do, how we roast and package it. The fun thing is a Farmer’s Market, bringing in fresh produce, prepared foods. We have the space to do it.”

Medora said her husband has never been one to remain idle. Until 1996, he was an aeronautics engineer at UPS, a prestigious and well-paying position, but was always working on other business plans during his days off. They started the coffee business known as Java Express in a former Fotomat store in 1998. They kept outgrowing locations before finding Shelby Park.

“He had four days off AND A.D.D.,” Medora jokes.

“I had a full-time job at UPS but 3-4 days off. We got into coffee.  I brew beer at home, I started making bourbon and I have a bourbon now,” said Mike.

Mike Safai’s drive for success is common in his family. Mike grew up in Iran, and decided in his teens that he wanted to come to America. It wasn’t easy, he said, and loves telling the story of getting help from a young journalist to obtain his VISA. He said he happened upon the young woman, who volunteered to help. She turned out to be Christiane Amanpour, now the famous CNN broadcaster.

He has four siblings in the U.S., all of whom, he says, are successful. One is a nuclear physicist, and another is a physician.

“The reason we succeeded is the way people treat immigrants here,” he said. “They gave us the opportunity to become what we are. I couldn’t do this anyplace else.”



28 thoughts on “Shelby Park May Become City’s Newest Hotspot, Starting with the Safais”

  1. Pingback: Mike & Medora Safai’s Showcase in Shelby Park; Good Gravy (Cup) with Zach Fry |
  2. Trackback: Mike & Medora Safai’s Showcase in Shelby Park; Good Gravy (Cup) with Zach Fry |
  3. ALasche says:

    You have brought up a very superb details, thank you for the post.

  4. Bellaire Skin Cream Review says:

    I pay a visit every day a few sites and information sites to read posts, but this blog presents quality
    based writing.

  5. Xaxtus TBoost says:

    What’s up everybody, here every person is sharing such knowledge, therefore it’s
    nice to read this webpage, and I used to visit
    this weblog every day.

  6. Bella Lumi Moisturizer Review says:

    I got this web site from my buddy who shared with me regarding this web page and at the
    moment this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative articles or reviews at
    this place.

  7. Commando Beam Review says:

    I genuinely enjoy looking through on this
    site, it has great blog posts.

  8. Pure Core Cleanse And Max Trim Fx says:

    You made a few fine points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will consent with your blog.

  9. Le Reviva Face Cream says:

    Woh I like your content, bookmarked!

  10. ZMass Testo Boost says:

    I went over this web site and I conceive you have a lot of excellent information, saved to
    my bookmarks (:.

  11. Radiant Restore Review says:

    Good ? I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site.
    I had no trouble navigating through all tabs
    as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access.

    I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least.
    Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add
    forums or something, website theme . a tones way
    for your customer to communicate. Nice task.

  12. Rapiture Muscle says:

    This is the perfect website for anybody who would like to understand this topic.
    You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that
    I really will need to?HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed
    for a long time. Great stuff, just great!

  13. Slim Thrive Body Cleanse says:

    Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog!

    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  14. Rapture Muscle Builder says:

    magnificent publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite
    experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must proceed your writing.
    I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  15. Green Science CBD Oil Review says:

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually recognise what you are speaking about!

    Bookmarked. Please also consult with my website =).
    We can have a link trade contract between us!

  16. Viril Tech says:

    Some truly good content on this site, thanks for contribution.

  17. Limitless Cut says:

    Hi friends, how is the whole thing, and what you desire to say concerning this post, in my view
    its genuinely amazing for me.

  18. Trembolex Ultra Testosterone Booster says:

    This is my first time go to see at here and i
    am really impressed to read everthing at single place.

  19. Seven Figure Profit Code says:

    Rattling nice layout and good articles, nothing else we require :

  20. Profit CountDown says:

    I believe other website owners should take this site as an model, very
    clean and superb user genial pattern.

  21. Nivele Slimming Cream says:

    I don’t leave a comment, but after browsing through a
    great deal of responses on Shelby Park May Become City’
    s Newest Hotspot, Starting with the Safais | Eat Drink Talk.
    I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be
    simply me or do some of the remarks come across like they are coming from brain dead folks?
    😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like
    to keep up with everything fresh you have to post.
    Would you make a list of the complete urls of all your social community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  22. Levimax says:

    Hello.This post was really interesting, particularly because I
    was investigating for thoughts on this matter last Saturday.

  23. Mira Cleanse says:

    I wanted to check up and let you know how much I appreciated discovering your web site today.
    I will consider it an honor to do things at my place of work and
    be able to utilize tips provided on your blog and also participate in visitors’ opinions like this.
    Should a position regarding guest article author become available
    at your end, please let me know.

  24. Pure Cleanse Complete And Lean Premium Complete says:

    We stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought
    I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now
    i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page repeatedly.

  25. Lean Premium says:

    This is a very good tip particularly to those
    new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information? Appreciate your
    sharing this one. A must read post!

  26. Profit CountDown says:

    I am glad to be a visitant of this perfect website,
    appreciate it for this rare info!

  27. Male Onyx Testosterone Trial says:

    Fantastic items from you, man. I have take into accout your
    stuff prior to and you are simply extremely magnificent.
    I really like what you have received right here, certainly like what you’re stating and
    the way in which wherein you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I cant wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a great website.

  28. Definitive Mango Cleanse says:

    I go to see everyday a few sites and sites to read content, but this blog gives quality based writing.

  29. BioFlex XL Review says:

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what website owners wrote but this site is rattling user friendly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *