I was an English major and for the majority of my life, I thought that I would be a writer, by profession, a poet, actually. However, it was not until I started learning about writing in high school and college that I decided that it was not for me. Mostly because it was not something that I was inherently "good at". My grades in the sciences and history were better and it seemed easier to gravitate towards the things that I was naturally good at.
What I loved about writing was the freedom of it and the fun of placing words together. That, while there were guidelines about how to write a sentence correctly or punctuate appropriately, there were very few rules about how to write a story, how to begin it, end it, make it interesting, or approachable. I have always thought about the difference our words make, whether in speech or in text. How we use our words is incredibly powerful. And there are so many words.
So, when there are that many words, why is it so hard to name something? Tucker (my business partner) and I are really different and everything we do is a compromise that takes time, sometimes lots of time. Naming Diesel took 3 years and naming Bloc took 1 year. Bloc was almost Diesel Cafe (2). But, opening another store with the same name within a 2 mile radius felt too much like what other coffeeshops with green mermaids do.... So, we needed a new name, a new neighborhood, a new identity, we needed to start over.
A few names that we almost chose:
7. Safe Haven
10. 11 Bow
You may recognize some of these names as they made it onto our menu. But even as we narrowed down to our top ten, we were not able to come to a final agreement. The only two things that we could agree on were numbers and one syllable. We liked the idea of a single syllable word that would roll off people's tongues as they spoke of our cafe. We have always liked numbers, especially prime numbers. Eleven happens to be my favorite number. It was also the number of years that Tucker and I knew each other in 2007. Eleven also happened to be the street number for our cafe and was a reason that we fell in love with the space. So, at least, we were able to agree that the number "11" should be part of the name. But "11 Bow" seemed done. There are so many great restaurants and boutiques that have successfully used their address as their name, that we felt that we would have fallen short. The "b" was compelling. And we got a little stuck on words that began with the letter "b".
"Bloc" was a last-minute suggestion made to us in the 11th hour. We had to file some paperwork to open in time and it asked us for the business name. And for some reason, Bloc, with no "k" was a word that we both agreed upon. Right away. "Bloc 11" was born with the idea that there are so many reasons why these words make sense to represent our cafe, our space.
1a. A combination of persons, groups, or nations forming a unit with a common interest or purpose
b. A group of nations or persons united by a treaty or agreement for mutual support or joint action.
2. A group of legislators or persons who act together for some common purpose irrespective of party lines.
To us, "Bloc 11" encompassed all that we hope to accomplish in owning and operating an independent cafe. We hope that this place has made a small difference in your lives and that its presence has brought about something positive.