The Public Perk is the coffee shop located inside the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
That’s the short version.
The longer version is like a Jeopardy question:
What happens when local businesses and a city institution band together to create an amazing resource for their town?
The story of the Perk reaches back all the way to 2007, when co-founder Tim Hofmann opened his first library coffee shop, in Nimitz Library at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland. It was there he learned the ins and outs of getting along with Library folk as the guy who was bringing cookie crumbs and coffee stains into the hallowed realm of books and reference materials.
Fast forward to 2016 when word of a new Hilliard library branch started going around.
Tim moved quickly, contacting people at the local branch and at Friends of the Library, who oversee those kinds of contracts. It would be another year until the Library opened the proposal for bids, but Tim was on top of it from the start.
Once the bid was out, Tim assembled his dream team of co-founders. He enlisted his friend and biz partner Jordan Smith, who had made himself a pillar of Hilliard culture over the preceding 9 years at the Donut Factory. He also corralled family friends Nate and Sharon Grenier, founders of Coffee Connections, who had played a pivotal part in remaking Main Street in Old Hilliard into a destination for culture seekers citywide.
The 4 founders put a plan into action that would rally support and attention for the new library branch, and crafted a proposal for the Friends of the Library that they just couldn’t refuse.
The rest is recent history. The new branch opened to great fanfare on 21 June 2018, and the Public Perk was there to celebrate and caffeinate all comers.
Featuring products sourced almost exclusively from local businesses, the Perk offers a world-class cafe experience for the people of Hilliard