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You Ought to Know: Mr. Wolf Espresso

10 years ago, Wayne Clark was working in the hospitality industry but dreamt of something bigger.

NEW ORLEANS — Mr. Wolf Espresso and Art & Design bookstore is in the Contemporary Arts Center building at 900 Camp St.

But who is Mr. Wolf?

The simple answer is that Mr. Wolf is the owner, Wayne Clark, but there's more to the story.

"It makes me feel a way when people come in, and they realize I'm the owner and they say, 'Are you Mr. Wolf?"

Clark is starting to accept that customers think of him as Mr. Wolf but he never intended for it to become his nickname.

Nearly ten years ago, he was going through a rough patch and felt like a loner. The wolf was his spirit animal.

Back then, Clark was working in the hospitality industry, but he was dreaming bigger.

"I approached every situation like- what can I learn from here. It's not mine. I can't make any decisions here, so get in, do the best I can, learn everything I can, and what's next," says Clark.

The St. Augustine graduate went to Tulane University with plans to become a dentist, but he realized that career path wouldn't fit the vision he had for his life.

"I'm an entrepreneur at heart. My grandad-  he owned a couple of restaurants and hotels in Gert Town, and that's what all of my family tells me that I have that paw-paw Bill spirit," says Clark.

After six years of working and planning, in October 2021, he opened Mr. Wolf.

Originally, he just wanted an espresso bar but he's already added a few other items to the menu.

"We understand that it's not just about my vision.  It's about serving the people that's coming to support what we're doing," explains Clark.

Clark's vision is bigger than coffee.

"Coffee is second here. How I see it as community. A lot of people say that, but I have a personal relationship with everybody in the space," says Clark.

The space is also filled with creates. There's a gallery wall which rotates every other month, and there's books. He carries several local authors who were having trouble getting their books into stores.

Clark has worked hard to put himself in a position to empower others.

So while he initially identified with the wolf because he felt alone, it seems now the wolf represents Clark's strength, leadership and power as an entrepreneur.

"That's what I work- for to be in a position to be the final decision maker," says Clark.

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