Sometime during the summer of 2021, while renovating the old Cove Laundromat building that had been a part of this quiet, quaint community in Panama City since the fifties, Jimy and Marta Thorpe decided to open a coffee business.
“This was purchased to become a Panama City hub for our air conditioning company, A Superior AC,” shares Jimy. “Our corporate office is on the beach, and we wanted an in-town presence.” But weekend after weekend the couple would see young couples jogging past the building, walking their dogs, strolling babies.
“There was just so much vitality here in the Cove,” says Marta, “And we knew there wasn’t anywhere for people to meet up, congregate, and hang out. Every neighborhood needs that!” So they decided to open Caffé Del Mundo for the Cove, and the doors opened that Thanksgiving weekend of 2021.
From the beginning, the community embraced their new “meet-up spot,” and church groups, small groups, writer’s groups, storyteller’s groups and more began holding their meetings at the caffé. Within a few months Jimy and Marta added a new layer: wine and homemade sangria.
“When Marta and I first dated, she shared with me that since she was a young girl, growing up in St. Augustine, she had always wanted to own and operate a sangria bar one day.” That notion stuck with Jimy, and he brought it up to Marta one day. “Wow, Really??!!” Marta said, “I was overjoyed! Jimy was making one of my lifelong dreams come true!”
So, they set about inventing recipes for Classic Spanish Sangria, Ethiopian Coffee Sangria, Pineapple Mint Sangria, and Peaches with Prosecco… and began working with Quinn DiBacco of DiBacco Imports to stock over 100 wines, many of them organic and from sustainable farms.
The couple both love jazz music. Jimy discovered it as a young man while serving in the Army, while Marta discovered it as a young woman attending college. “What’s better to go along with a glass of wine, than live jazz?” she asks. “There were so many cool little jazz clubs in Winter Park, where I lived while going to UCF,” she remembers. “They all had an intimate, cozy feel – which is the exact ambiance of Caffé Del Mundo.”
The couple are friends with members of the Gulf Jazz Society here locally in Bay County, and they began booking Jazz Trios and weekend afternoon Latin Jazz.
“We call it Sangria Saturday,” says Jimy. “From 3 to 5 PM on a Saturday afternoon we serve wine, sangria, and charcuterie while Victor Payano performs Latin Jazz. Sometimes we have local singer-songwriter-style musicians perform. Sometimes they play Saturday night (from 6 to 8 PM)… we encourage our guests to check out our monthly entertainment lineup on social media.”