Henry & June owners share their love story

Jim Chambers and Camryn Park's coffee-fueled business venture finds success

Lovebirds turned entrepreneurs, Jim Chambers and Camryn Park opened the Henry & June coffee shop and clothing boutique in late July 2014. Fittingly, they met while sipping the jittery elixir at Octane Coffee in Grant Park. As the story goes, Chambers, a Brooklyn-born writer and coffee aficionado, was after his daily caffeine fix when a fiery photographer grabbed his attention. He remembers seeing Park sitting at the end of the counter. "I went to a person I knew who worked there and said I was going to fall in love with the redhead at the end of the bar," Chambers says. Call it love-at-first-sip or irony, but either way the duo hit it off quickly. Soon enough, their creative spirits combined in pursuit of giving Atlanta a taste of coffee alongside an impressive spread of high-end apparel.

In an effort to share their artistic endeavors and combine them into a possible joint venture, Chambers and Park set out on a cross-country road trip to narrow their vision and find their niche in a more concrete way.

"We ended up driving to Big Sur in California," Chambers says, "and went to the Henry Miller Memorial Library for Valentine's Day. On the way, we planned out stopping at coffee shops and boutiques to do research."

Literary playboy Henry Miller is one of Chambers' writing idols, and the author's bohemian love triangle with June Mansfield and French erotic novelist Anaïs Nin is where Chambers and Park eventually found the inspiration for the shop's name.

Chambers and Park were encouraged by employees at Huckleberry Roasters in Denver to visit Steadbrook, a nearby coffee bar and boutique. At Steadbrook, their vision became tangible: They wanted to test the boundaries of Atlanta's fashion and roast offerings.

"We understood that there is a void in Atlanta in terms of different types of roasters being obtainable," Chambers says. "Steadbrook had a similar bar setup and sold high-end men's street wear. It was a huge inspiration for us, but we wanted to have a more dynamic coffee bar with a full men's and women's upscale boutique."

For Henry & June, Chambers and Park chose collections from Atlanta designers Megan Huntz and Abbey Glass, along with such high-end brands as Creatures of Comfort and Raquel Allegra. The shop also features international labels including Native Youth (British), Henrik Vibskov (Danish), and Margaux Lonnberg (French), which appear throughout the system of stunning copper pipe racks and hairpin-leg wood shelving realized by locals including Jane Garver, Matix woodworking, and Grafite Design.

Henry & June, which nestles along a gated courtyard in Virginia-Highland, proves to be a tempting haven for fashion and coffee addicts. While customers wait on their espressos, they can peruse clothes and accessories that are presented with a premeditated aesthetic and fluency.

The space's interior design carries a minimalist style with personal touches peppered throughout: a customized neon sign that reads "Of Course" in Chambers' mother's handwriting, for example. On the walls are photographs of Paris shot by Brassaï, images that inspired Henry Miller while he was writing, as well as Park's personal vintage camera collection, a blown-up 1908 corset X-ray by Dr. Ludovic O'Followell, and an Art Nouveau-inspired street sign by local artist Peter Ferrari.

Behind the bar is the store's bean chemist, Daniel Mueller, who brings quirky espresso-concocting skills to the shop. Decisions on roasting styles and roasting vendors led Chambers and Park to Nashville-based roasters CREMA, as they both liked everything it offered. However they opted for a diverse selection —"a coffee gallery"— to cater to bean enthusiasts.

"People come in, we brew their coffee, and they sort of peruse around," Park says. "Instead of this being just another empty boutique waiting for the next person to come in, we have people coming in frequently, which keeps it more lively and fun, which is what we want it to be — a lifestyle place."

Whatever the descriptor, to Chambers and Park, they successfully fill a void in the city. "We're not trying to be a high-volume shop selling 500 cups of coffee every day," Chambers says. "We're a small business in a small strip with a wonderful set of stores in an area that deserves revamping."

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