Sunday, December 3, 2023

Here’s what two CNU grads and a YouTube star have in a common

The Canvas Coffee House opened Feb.15 in Newport News (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Daniel Haskett)
The Canvas Coffee House opened Feb.15 in Newport News (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Daniel Haskett)

NEWPORT NEWS — In the bustling square of Port Warwick surrounded by other local businesses, Daniel Haskett, 24 decided to open a specialty coffee shop where people could connect without cellphones, loud music and other distractions.

“It’s literally a blank canvas,” Haskett said. “It’s a really calm space where people can take a deep breath and connect on many levels.”

Haskett had the dream of opening a space where people could come and collaborate but he never actually planned on opening a coffee shop.

After he graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2016, he worked in real estate for a year and a half before he decided he wanted to serve people in a “very tangible way”.

“Our menu is really simple,” he said. “Each cup of coffee is measured out. There’s just a very personal touch on each cup of coffee.”

Haskett runs Canvas Coffee House with his two business partners, Alex Hoyes, also a CNU grad and Rahot Hossain, 30 from the YouTube channel “Magic with Rahot.”

The trio met in the space which was previously Hip Innovative Studio Boutique, a part-coffee shop and part-boutique, where Hoyes worked at the kiosk.

One of their biggest challenges was organizing the space and creating an inviting environment so they painted the ceiling black, added some new furniture and built a coffee bar.

Since the coffee shop opened, Haskett said business is booming and their clientele is mixed with lots of military, older patrons, younger folks and, of course, CNU students.

The shop’s baristas are trained to do everything from making espressos and pour overs to latte art and maintaining the dining area.

The baristas at Canvas Coffee House specialize in 'latte art'. (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Canvas Coffee House)
The baristas at Canvas Coffee House specialize in ‘latte art’. (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Canvas Coffee House)

Some future plans include roasting their own beans and partnering with a international retailer to sell coffee beans

Canvas Coffee House, 2170 William Styron Square S, is open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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