Caffeine-craving yogis take note: a new place in town can offer you both the buzz and the burn in a cozy Nob Hill home-turned-cafe and yoga studio. Helix Coffee and Yoga, which opened in the beginning of July, offers two services in one as part of a business venture dreamed up by a local husband and wife duo, Vincent and Kristen LaVolpa. Combining Kristen’s passion for education and yoga with Vincent’s knack for coffee, the pair decided to build a community space that would offer coffee and food from local vendors, crafts by Albuquerque artists, and low-cost yoga classes for learners of all ages.
Built into what was clearly once a family home, Helix has a cheerfully-tiled walk up counter looking into the kitchen and espresso machine, with a seating area on one side and what amounts to a small gift shop where you order your coffee. A coffee station full of various toppings, almost akin to an ice cream bar, encourages guests to customize their drinks as they please. Toward the back, a corridor leads to a light-filled room that serves as the yoga studio, with changing rooms fashioned from what was once a sliding door closet. The front display brims with local trinkets and crafts, from jewelry designed for teething toddlers to hand towels, mugs, and earrings in various New Mexican themes.
A focus on local sourcing extends to the vendors for the coffee and food as well. The DeVolpas source their beans from Prosum Roasters, and their pastries, including blueberry scones and soon, a lemon zest pound cake, from Atomic Age Bakery. Helix exclusively houses Green Growler Smoothies products, including a rainbow of blended drinks, fresh salads and sandwiches. Mystique food truck supplies breakfast burritos, which Vincent claims are the best in town.
Vincent adds that he is always open to new vendors to support a diverse group of local businesses. He says he’s grateful for a trend toward quality over convenience and said he’s seen people be “supportive of allowing a craft industry to develop. We’re seeing this with breweries, we’re seeing this with food trucks, we’re seeing this with local bakeries – people are ok paying the extra fifty cents for a locally crafted product, and I think that’s really important.”
Prior to opening Helix, The LaVolpas had been running a successful coffee truck and catering business under the name Green Joe Coffee, posting up at various weddings, corporate events, markets and movie sets. Now that their storefront is finally open, Vincent is renting out the coffee truck to coffee trainees and sharing the profits with them as they park the truck at various venues. The pair hopes to expand the catering business as they solidify the new storefront business.
In keeping with what Vincent calls the couple’s “co-op mentality,” Vincent and Kristen have recruited a number of yoga instructors and given them the freedom to teach in their own styles. Some classes charge an entry fee, but others are open to the public for free. Vincent said, “with yoga, what we want is a place where somebody can be introduced to yoga in a comfortable, safe environment.” Helix offers gentle, restorative and beginner yoga in addition to “rise and flow” with plans to offer prenatal yoga.
Helix, it owners stress, is not just a neighborhood cafe and yoga studio – it’s a move to strengthen local community and build a network of grassroots entrepreneurship. “We’ve always loved the character of the neighborhood, but we felt it was being impacted pretty harshly by big corporate chains,” Vincent said, “The little guy wasn’t going to be able to make it anymore. With ART, we were seeing what was happening, we were thinking we wanted to do something about that.”
3612 Campus Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
3228 Los Arboles Ave NE #100, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Sophie Putka is a Massachusetts transplant in love with New Mexico. She writes, makes lattes, and haunts Albuquerque eateries in search of a good bagel. She can usually be found in the kitchen trying to use up as many leftovers as possible and plotting her next adventure.