Community Heroes: CTX Coffee

Sponsored by:

By Hannah Oswalt

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. Exercise classes are over at the gym and you’re looking for a place to gather with friends, relax and re-energize. The place that meets all of those criteria—CTX Coffee, located at 114 E Dewey in downtown Sapulpa.

Owned by Jacob and Briana Birdwell, CTX started out as a coffee truck in Tulsa with the focus of trying to build community. “A joint vision of building community and using coffee as the common denominator,” is what Jacob says motivated them to move to a brick and mortar. They chose Sapulpa because it didn’t already have a place like that centered around coffee. They wanted to make CTX a “hub for meetings and community building.”

Sponsored by:
Briana and Jacob Birdwell, owners of CTX Coffee.

The name CTX derived from Coleman, Texas, the small town Jacob grew up in.

Craft coffee and educating people was another motivation to set up shop in Sapulpa, “We definitely want to bring craft coffee and do the best we can to educate people,” Jacob says, “but also bring something that’s above par.”

Briana agreed, saying “it’s been fun to watch people growing in their knowledge of coffee and being able to taste the notes in the coffee.”

CTX sources their coffee fairly, Which means the countries they source from are given a fair deal on their products and the products have been ethically and sustainably produced. “We believe that community is local, but it’s also how we treat our neighbors in other countries and where we source our goods and commodities,” Jacob says.

Another standard that goes into their intentional selection of where to source their coffee beans from is the motivation to prevent human trafficking. Briana says fighting human trafficking is a passion of hers and when she met Jacob, she had a jewelry business built around it, called “Abolition Avenue.”

“It was just this thing I believed God had put in my heart, to help victims of human trafficking,” Briana says. “At first I wasn’t sure, so I didn’t do anything, but one day, I woke up and felt very clearly, God was telling me, ‘I’m calling you to do this.’”

She started with an Etsy site, and before she and Jacob were even married, he was selling her jewelry in the coffee shop. Though that business has taken a backseat to CTX this last year, she says she’s planning to ramp things back up for the coming holiday season and says her husband has a lot to do with that decision. “He’s really supportive of this. He wants to see it thrive,” she said.

Jacob talked about how they want to be a sustainable part of the community and the reason they don’t open super early and stay open super late is that in order to be here for the long term, they have to stay profitable. “You know, we have the people to do that. But, I understand what it means to be sustainable.” He went on to say, “We want to be around for as long as we can.”

In addition to sustainability, they also have a dream of being able to provide jobs for people and they’ve accomplished that and now have three employees, Kaytin, Emily, and Cooper. Along with providing jobs Briana also said, “We want it to feel like a family. We want our employees to feel like this is a home for them and a safe place for them, on top of their workplace.”

One of the ways they’ve been able to foster community is Free Coffee Fridays—where someone sponsors $3 of every coffee purchased and gets to connect with the customers that come in that morning. “It’s really cool to get to partner with other local businesses, and they’re partnering alongside us,” said Jacob. They went on to talk about other events they open up their space to. “We‘ve hosted youth groups, bible studies, rented the space to businesses, bridal showers, baby showers.”

As things start to open back up more, they plan on returning to hosting game nights, music nights, and fun opportunities for the community to engage in, “Probably the beginning of next year, we’ll start having our competitions and different things for the community to come check out.” Jacob said.

CTX will also be partnering with Crossroads Cookery, which is scheduled to open next year, and will have their coffee beans roasted there. “We’re working together in support of each other,” Jacob said

If anyone is interested in hosting an event at CTX, the Birdwells say to just let them know the time of your event and they will have it blocked off for you. “We operate like an event space,” Briana says.

Jacob says that although they’ve been in business for a few years, they’re still learning new lessons all the time. “I just let people know as we learn and grow, and take in people’s needs to understand that we’re learning and growing,” he said. “Our shop doesn’t look anything like it looked like a year ago,” he added, encouraging people to come back and see the ways they’ve grown and developed even over the last six months if someone hadn’t been in for whatever reason.

CTX originally opened on Water Street, and they’re still finding out that some people think they closed instead of just moved. Their previous location had been affected by the tornado in 2019, and believe it or not, Briana sees it as a blessing. “We just see the Lord’s hand in that through all of it,” he says. “Because it’s been such a blessing in disguise to end up in this spot,” she said.

Briana says they don’t want to have all the fun, and they’re encouraging people to come downtown and see all that Sapulpa has to offer. “There’s new things and if people are skipping downtown altogether, they’re not gonna see that.”

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