Depot + Equator

From left, the Depot’s Mark Martini, Helen Russell of Equator Coffees, the Depot’s Ridge Sampson, Equator’s Brook McDonnell and Paul Lazzareschi of the Depot.

In 2016, Paul Lazzareschi and Mark Martini, along with a number of deeply involved investors, bought the iconic Depot Cafe & Bookstore from the family of the late Mary Turnbull, who founded the famed bookstore and cafe with her husband William Turnbull in 1987. They navigated a lengthy renovation of the City-owned building within which it resides, and have seen the the multi-faceted space blossom in the years since it re-opened in January 2021 and having it referred to as Mill Valley’s security blanket.

Those investors are on the cusp of another consequential step forward, as the Depot is set to begin serving Equator Coffees, the remarkable, award-winning brand that got its start as a wholesaler in Marin County, opened its first cafe in Tam Junction in 2013, another in downtown Mill Valley in 2014 and now boasts locations across the Bay Area and in Los Angeles.

The decision to have Equator begin serving its renowned coffee at the Depot on June 1 – 125 feet away from Equator’s location at 2 Miller Avenue – makes perfect sense, says Martini. “We want to serve the best possible product to our guests,” he says, pointing to Equator’s longstanding track record and a gleaming Impact Report

“The Depot will be brewing different coffees than those we have at our stores, including 2 Miller Avenue,” Equator co-founder Helen Russell says. “What the founders share in common is their love for their Mill Valley neighbors and community. Both brands are committed to serving the most sustainably sourced products to our community and visitors.” 

“It’s more Mill Valley, more often,” says Depot investor Ridge Sampson.

“Working with Equator and offering their wholesale coffee made sense – we are big fans of one another and we do not see ourselves as competitors – we are neighbors and we love our hamlet of Mill Valley,” Martini adds. “When Russell and (Equator co-founder) Brooke McDonnell moved to Mill Valley in 1989, they fell in love with the Depot.”

“We are honored to work with the Depot – it’s one of our favorite places,” Russell says. ”It’s iconic and beloved. When Mark and Paul called to discuss serving our coffee, we did not hesitate. We are proud of how we source and roast coffee and we want the Depot customers which we share to have the very best. We are all entrepreneurs and now we just want to have fun and share the love with this place we all call home.”

For the Depot Drip, the Depot team chose Prime Meridian, which is built around a fully washed coffee from Colombia produced by 300 members of the Association of Women Coffee Growers of West Huila (Asociación de Mujeres Cafeteras del Occidente del Huila), whom make up the Las Rosas Women’s Coffee Project. The project is a multi-organizational effort intended to support the Las Rosas Women’s Group through economic prosperity, social empowerment, and coffee quality. Over the past six years, the women of Las Rosas have showcased their ability to grow and prosper, becoming a source of inspiration for their community. 

For the espresso, the Depot team chose Equator’s Jaguar Espresso, “a complex espresso blend that combines organic and Fair Trade certified coffees from the world’s major growing regions – a new world approach to a traditional-style espresso.”

“This is just about us both coming together to serve the community,” Lazzareschi says.

The Depot Cafe & Bookstore will begin serving the Depot Drip and the Jaguar Espresso within its space at 87 Throckmorton Ave. on June 1st.




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