Redondo Beach native Erich Joiner takes his coffee very seriously, down to the fastidiously designed rosette on top. But the founder of goodboybob Coffee Roasters, with locations in Santa Monica, Culver City and Manhattan Beach, never set out to open a single coffee shop—let alone three.
Erich—a film director, commercial producer and owner of Tool production company in Santa Monica whose clients include Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft—first came up with the idea approximately six years ago when he wanted to create a meeting spot for fellow industry creatives, filmmakers, editors and musicians occupying office spaces near his studio.
“I had never been a part of a partner-owned anything in the hospitality business before,” explains Erich, who resides in Manhattan Beach and just opened the door to his newest outpost on Highland Avenue—steps from the public library—last month. “There was really no place in the city planning years ago where people could walk to and gather. You had to get in your car. So I decided I wanted to open a coffee shop to have a little gathering place and provide an experience for people on our block to get together and share a cup of coffee.”
“I wanted to create a place where people could come in, grab a coffee and a chapati before running to the beach, or a cookie and a coffee and go skateboarding.”
Originally the inaugural café, which Erich describes as “hidden down an alley and behind this gate,” was not zoned for food or coffee. Erich implemented that change and quickly immersed himself into everything coffee—from hospitality to roasting. His wife, Deidre, chose the company name goodboybob based on their family dog, Bob.
“It was a lot of fun for me to educate myself and meet people in that world,” Erich says. “I had no idea about roasting coffee. As a content creator for brands, I should have known that there was a World Barista Championship. I invested in a roaster and made it a point to hire people who had competed in these barista championships.”
Nearly five years later, the living room-like Santa Monica shop—lined with cozy rugs and hand-selected artwork—has a perpetual line out the door and a loyal following of international coffee enthusiasts known to take an Uber upon landing at LAX just to taste the fresh brews. The small-batch coffees chosen by Erich and roasted in Torrance have swiftly gained recognition from coffee connoisseurs around the world. Goodboybob has a robust subscription base encompassing cities such as Los Angeles, Tokyo and Dubai.
“It’s handpicked when it’s ripe and roasted fairly lightly to medium, where you can taste all the flavors without burning it,” Erich says. “It doesn’t have that bitter taste that a lot of people associate with coffee, without putting any sugar into it. It’s very smooth.”
He opened a second location in Culver City, followed by his brand-new Manhattan Beach shop. Goodboybob focuses on handcrafted coffee and grab-and-go offerings—from artisan-style avo toast with pickled carrots and sesame seeds and chapatis, a type of breakfast wrap.
“I’ve taken the philosophy of not wanting to be a chain where we just duplicate everything and reproduce it,” Erich says. “If I decide to go into a community or a location, I try to understand that community and what will be best for that community. I wanted to create a place where people could come in, grab a coffee and a chapati before running to the beach, or a cookie and a coffee and go skateboarding. Or preorder from the app, pull over quickly and then commute to work.”
Erich, who attended Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design, enhanced his newest store’s 300-square-foot space with touches such as black-and-white photos of his parents on the beach in high school (they owned Competition Surf magazine in the 1960s); a kinetic clock sculpture by Swedish duo Humans since 1982; and a large-scale photo of surfing legend Dewey Weber from the estate of photographer LeRoy Grannis. The shop will also feature bespoke coffee equipment for purchase and a concierge service for complimentary home setup.
“I want to expose Manhattan Beach to a high-quality coffee that is smooth and delicious and comes from farmers who care about it,” adds Erich, who is also a professional auto racer for the Trans Am Series. “There haven’t been many curated coffee shops here. I’m excited about coming into this community and sharing these coffees from all over the world that are roasted a couple of miles from here.”
Taming life’s currents.