By Christian Weaner
On a rainy evening in mid-May, Andrew Padilla gathered to brainstorm with a few of his friends in the empty building that would soon become the newest coffee shop in Lynchburg. As they sat together and talked, the ideas started to flow.
“We didn’t have a name, we didn’t have an aesthetic, we had no idea what we were going to do with the shop,” Padilla said. “And then, we all just sat down for a couple hours…came here one night when it was super rainy, we turned off all the lights except for the string lights, just kind of getting inspiration of what we want this place to be. That’s how La Vida was born.”
With the help of his team, Padilla opened La Vida Coffee + Market in July with a vision of becoming not only a successful coffee shop but also a safe haven that’s open to anyone, breathing life into the Lynchburg community.
Padilla, 21, is the co-owner of the business and a Sacramento, Calif., native who moved to Lynchburg in 2012 with his family. Many of Padilla’s ideas for La Vida are inspired by California-based coffee shops, which frequently host concerts, movie nights and other events.
The coffee shop is located inside a 4,000-square-foot building on the corner of Langhorne Road and Memorial Avenue. With the help of some friends, Padilla built all of the tables and sourced the other furniture.
He also ordered state-of-the-art coffee equipment that is unique to coffee shops in this area. They offer a fairly traditional coffee menu—from an Americano to a latte—but add in some seasonal favorites and offer Mexican sodas (Jarritos) as well.
Despite doing minimal marketing online and preparing for a soft launch to help get prepared for the return of college students, Padilla said he was blown away by the immediate turnout of customers when La Vida opened its doors July 17.
“All the tables, all the couches were filled,” Padilla said. “The line was going around the tables and out the door by 11 a.m. and we opened at 10 a.m.”
With large windows spanning the majority of the building, Padilla said he loves to let the natural light flood in, prop open the doors and create a welcoming environment for anyone who wants to stop by.
“Here at La Vida, anyone is welcome,” Padilla said. “No matter their age, no matter anything, we welcome everybody with open arms no matter what.”
At a Glance:
La Vida Coffee + Market
2704 Langhorne Rd., Lynchburg
Sun., 12pm – 7pm
Mon.-Thurs., 6am – 6pm
Fri., Sat.: 6am – 7pm