The founders of Aviano Coffee sold a chunk of their business to two Denver heavyweights who plan to grow the upscale brand beyond Cherry Creek.
Doug and Saadia Naiman, who opened the inaugural Aviano location in 2006, this week sold a 50 percent stake in the business, reducing their ownership to 20 percent.
The buyers were Denver restaurateur Juan Padro, founder of the Culinary Creative restaurant group, and BMC Investments CEO Matt Joblon, Cherry Creek’s most high-profile developer.
Padro told BusinessDen he acquired a 40 percent stake. Joblon, who purchased 30 percent of the business back in 2018, took on an additional 10 percent, for a total stake of 40 percent.
Padro declined to disclose the terms of the deal, but said Culinary Creative — which owns Highland Tap & Burger, Senor Bear, Bar Dough and Morin, among others — is taking over Aviano’s day-to-day operations.
“Aviano is a well-known brand, and we’re excited to spend this next year integrating it into the Culinary Creative culture, and eventually looking toward major growth in the years to come,” Padro said.
Aviano has two locations within blocks of each other in Cherry Creek. The Naimans originally opened in the Beauvallon condo complex at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Street. They made the move to Cherry Creek in 2013, taking over 244 Detroit St. The second location, which opened in 2018, is less than a half-mile away at 215 Saint Paul St.
Aviano serves craft brands, such as Intelligentsia Coffee, Kilogram Tea and Askinosie Chocolate, and has a limited menu.
After nearly 15 years in the industry, Padro said the couple was ready to sell.
“It had consumed their lives, and the amount of energy and resources it would take to scale it just wasn’t what they were looking for,” he said.
Padro said the new ownership group plans to add more Aviano Coffee locations throughout the metro area and in Boulder in the next two years and hope to expand the brand out of state in 2023. In terms of securing capital to fuel this expansion, Padro said “every deal will look different.”
In the meantime, Padro said Culinary Creative is focused on adding food items to Aviano’s menu. This will be the restaurateur’s first venture into Denver’s coffee scene.
“My dad is Puerto Rican, and he and my uncle live in the coffee regions of Puerto Rico — so it’s always been a part of my life, just not a part of my business,” Padro said.