Settled in the corner of San Gabriel Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard lies a home that, because of our founder, was converted into a small coffee shop very popular within our APU community. Jonny Liu began with a dream and a passion to love people, and as a result, Mantra was born. This not-for-profit coffee shop was built to give back to the community, and because of that 51% of the proceeds are given to local and global organizations. Jonny wanted to do more then just give back financially. He wanted to give students and community members a place that felt like home, where they can do homework and immerse themselves in good conversation.
Like most startups, Jonny did have a few challenges when starting Mantra. He said that his biggest struggle was the skepticism that he received from other people. He had this vision that he knew was great, but his challenge was getting other people to believe it was great. With his faith leading his dream to a reality, Jonny was finally able to open Mantra for the first time two and a half years after he began the process.
Mantra coffee shop opened the winter of 2015, and with finals week around the corner for the students of APU, it could not have been a more perfect time. After donating most of their coffee the night before, they had just enough to open for two hours. As every founder of a startup would be, Jonny worried that nobody would show up. He, along with all of his employees, sat and waited anxiously for the clock to hit noon. Once they opened the door, there was a line outside for the full two hours. “It was a success...until we realized we had to do the same thing tomorrow,” joked Jonny. He waited for the UPS to arrive that night, and at 11pm, they filled the coffee shop with enough coffee to open for even longer longer the next day.
From the start of the dream to opening the doors of Mantra, Jonny stood behind his faith and his love for Jesus. The advice he would give to other entrepreneurs is to not lose sight of what your ending goal is. Jonny stated, “You know when there is all this red tape, that is when you need to remember why you are doing what you are doing.” Even though Jonny opened a coffee shop, his advice is applicable to anyone looking to participate in Zuventurez PITCH.
Jonny’s vision has come to life, and this vision is something that we are all able to experience. If you happen to be driving up San Gabriel Boulevard or have a sudden urge for coffee (we all do) between the hours of 7am-12am, the Zuventurez team challenges you to stop by Mantra coffee to see for yourself how a dream became a reality.
The address for Mantra: 615 N San Gabriel Ave, Azusa, CA 91702 or check out their instagram @mantracoffee for more details