The Coolest People I Know: Brad & Nam

2Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset // Second photo: Nam Ho (left) & Brad Penna (right) //

Describe yourself in three words.

BRAD: Sarcastic. Kind. Compassionate. (Hopefully, not in that order).
NAM: Curious. Sarcastic. Intentional.

Favorite song / artist / album?

BRAD: This Will Destroy You is my favorite band. Their self-titled album will forever be my jam.
NAM: “Impossible” by Shout Out Louds (Album: Our Ill Wills)

In a sentence or two, what was / is the dream for Horizon Line Coffee?

BRAD: Ethically source high quality coffee and create a welcoming space for people to hang out with friends (and make new friends). Yeah, I think that sums it up.
NAM: I will always want Horizon Line to be a place where different people, from different walks of life, can find at least some commonality (while enjoying a nice beverage).

What’s something you’ve learned since moving to Des Moines?

BRAD: I think that I too easily fall into the “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality. I would like to think that I am a happy and content person, but too often I feel that I am always striving for something and feel unsatisfied in what I’m working on. So now I’m working on that.
NAM: Take time to recognize and enjoy the small things; I have found that it’s easy for me to get sidetracked by thinking about hypotheticals. I’ve learned to constantly refocus myself and savor the days as they come.

What’s something important to you?

BRAD: Making people feel acknowledged and valued is important to me. I’d like to hope that this is obvious in how we serve customers and conduct business, but I hope that this is true in my personal life too.
NAM: Family forever. Distance has made me realize how much of a foundation that my family really provides for me and how important it is to maintain that relationship.


If you’re from the Des Moines area and haven’t tried Horizon Line Coffee, let me be the first to tell ya—you’re missing out. Brad and Nam trekked across the country to open Horizon Line Coffee, and man, oh man, have they done a phenomenal job.

The thing that’s so spectacular about this place isn’t the amazing quality of the coffee itself, or the modern and sleek aesthetic of the shop (even though those are both 11/10)—it’s these guys. It’s Brad & Nam, simple as that. I’ve been overwhelmed by their kindness time and time again, and I constantly find myself leaving the store wanting to be a better, more genuine person. One of the reasons I love Des Moines so darn is much is because of people like them—authentic, kindhearted folks that make small corners of downtown and simple pleasures like drinking coffee one of the best parts of my day. xx


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