Florin Iuga arrived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at age 20 from his hometown of Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania inspired by American movie cowboys. His English vocabulary was limited to “Hello, good morning, and you’re welcome.” He learned English working as a housekeeper, cashier and making pizza. Four years later, Iuga is chasing the American dream as an entrepreneur. On June 1, he opens a new Boothbay Harbor coffee shop, Brisetto’s Second Cup.
Despite his young age, Iuga is an experienced businessman. He bought Brisetto’s Coffee Corner, a Romanian coffee shop, in 2018. The shop was in Cluj Napoca, Romania, a 13-hour drive from Bucharest. Iuga’s high school classmate Sergiu Trintalin owned the business and was moving to Scotland. He approached Iuga about buying the business located in a Romanian city filled with college students and high technology businesses. “It’s like our Boston,” Iuga said. “It’s known for having the best universities in Eastern Europe and it’s similar to Silicon Valley with many hi-tech businesses. So for the past two years, I’ve owned it with my mother’s help.” Iuga later moved the business to his hometown.
When Brisseto’s Second Cup opens, Iuga has plenty of experience providing patrons “good coffee, good vibes.” The shop on Commercial Street has a spectacular view of the inner harbor. A friend approached Iuga about leasing a vacant building, “That’s what I wanted to do is own my own business,” he said. “I had concerns the spot was too big, but that changed when I saw the upstairs’ view. It was spectacular, and I thought it was definitely a place for people to come in for coffee, relax, work on their laptop or just take in the incredible view.”
Both of his coffee shops have an apt name. Brisetto is Italian for coffee and pastry. Iuga modeled his new shop after his Romanian enterprise. His menu includes cappuccino, lattes, espresso, mocha, smoothies, juices, tiramisu, carrot cake, blueberry cake, beer and wine. Iuga plans on hiring at least three more people. He also plans on spending most of his time behind the bar making and serving coffee, juices and desserts. “We are going to put the carrots, oranges and grapefruits right into the blender and serve them. It’s going to be all natural and delicious.”
Iuga opens Brisetto’s Second Cup together with a businessman partner, Garry Stewart, who has been managing Linekin Bay Resort for the past 10 years.
His new coffee shop is modeled after his Romanian operation. At Brisetto’s Coffee Corner, a favorite creation, especially for high school-aged customers, is “The Freakshake.” The drink is a coffee or smoothie base combined with something sweet and a donut on top. It was created by his friend Sergiu Trintalin and served with a straw and spoon. Brisetto’s Second Cup also has an American influence. Iuga enjoys dining in Portland. After dinner, he searches out a different place for dessert and, on one encounter, Iuga found Gross Confection, which serves only desserts. “There is at least a 30-minute wait to eat there and it’s absolutely the best dessert. I thought something like that could succeed in Boothbay Harbor. So my businesses is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week to offer an after-dinner option.”
In Romania, his mother Maria Iuga runs his coffee shop. His family has played a major role in his desire to run his own business. The family has sold flowers for 50 years. His grandmother Veronica Iuga spurred his interest in business. As a child, she gave him seeds to plant flowers and vegetables which he sold at farmers markets. “I took those seeds and planted them in my own garden. She is a big inspiration in my life,” he said.
At 24, Iuga owns two businesses, but that’s not enough work for him. He will continue working at Ports of Italy this year. “I just have a lot of energy. I get up at 6 a.m. and I just like being active all the time.” Once he arrived in Boothbay Harbor, he decided to make the community his full-time home. “I absolutely love it here. It’s so beautiful and people are so friendly.”
Find more information about Brisetto’s Second Cup on Facebook and Instagram. The shop’s phone number is 207-332-2001.