PICTURED: Corban Campbell (right) with wife Raquel and son Oscar at Singing Sun Coffee in Ventura. Photo submitted

Singing Sun Coffee
1930 E. Main St., Ventura

Are you from Ventura County originally?

I grew up in Merritt Island, Florida. It’s where the space shuttles launch from.

When did you move to California? Where do you live now?

I moved to California 16 years ago to live on my friend’s boat in the San Diego Harbor while remodeling it. It was a live-work situation. We (my wife, Raquel, and son, Oscar) now live just a couple miles away from the coffee shop. 

What were you doing before you started Singing Sun?

Jobwise I was working for a surf company startup called Vissla in the marketing department and managing the surf team. I left after five years to open the coffee shop. 

When did you open Singing Sun, and what inspired you to do so?

We opened the shop on Aug. 12, 2019. I had been doing quite a bit of traveling with my previous job and was exposed to all different types of amazing coffees globally. I knew I didn’t  want to work in the surf industry forever. Traveling all the time isn’t that good for a young family. I’ve always loved coffee, how it tastes and what it makes you feel like. The first idea that pops in your head in the morning and sometimes what you think about before you go to sleep at night. Coffee is pretty easy to get behind, and once you’ve had a good cup, it’s hard to settle for anything less. It’s a fun creative platform that has community at the center. 

How many employees do you currently have?

We currently have seven employees: Jordan, Kim, Taylor, Camryn, Dan, Melanie and Anna. We have a really great team. Everyone is very self-motivated and does a great job. The primary center of the position is making sure the coffee tastes top notch, getting drinks out quick, while making sure our customers are being taken care of. 

How do you source your products?

We have a green buyer, Jose, that travels all over to source the best coffee direct from the farmers. We also use local wherever we can. Our main baker, Christine of Heirloom Baking Co., lives just a few miles up the road; we get our kombucha from Revel out of Ojai as well as our turmeric from Essential Medicina. Our honey is Blue Ridge based here in town. Our neighbor Joe Neary prints all of our merch — just to name a few.

What makes Singing Sun different from other coffee shops?

If you were to break it into sections, they would be: premium coffee, outstanding customer service, a clean space, having fun and creativity. 

What kind of complications did the pandemic create, and how did you overcome them?

Well, when I asked our staff who felt comfortable working when the pandemic hit, all but one didn’t feel comfortable working. So I personally worked 50 days straight, open to close. Once we started, the employees slowly trickled back in.

What’s a typical day like for you?

We have a 3-year-old, so mostly waking up really tired and being asked to watch cartoons before I can even open my eyes. From there, lots of coffee. Then I take my son, Oscar, to his daycare and go to the shop to make sure everything is going smooth and that nothing needs to be fixed. Lately my friend Hayden and I have been making these short coffee videos around town of some of the shop regulars. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to go surfing. 

What do you find most challenging about your work? What’s most rewarding?

Everything breaks, you have to be a handyman. Aside from that, the food and beverage industry has high turnover of crew members. It’s rewarding to get to meet everyone, all the different personalities and interesting stories. You also have all the best coffee equipment, so you’re near the source. 

Where do you see things going with your business in the near future? How about in the next 5-10 years?

Well, we should have the shop back open here in the months to come, so if all goes according to plan, that will be really good. Closer to normal coffee-shop life. In 5-10 years we just want to constantly have a premium product and experience. Take care of people and pack the days full of the good stuff. No need to move too fast.

Anything else you might want to share about Singing Sun that we haven’t touched on here?

We have a secret menu!

— Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer