This past year may have us all feeling a little…roasted. The good news is our region has plenty of great coffee shops to keep us fueled—whether we’re working from the office or working from home.
As we all continue our efforts to support local small businesses, we encourage you to check out some of the coffee shops throughout our region IDH has interviewed over the years*.
BeanZ & Co. Co-Owner Kim Morrison discusses the business evolution: “When we finally made that decision to take this leap of faith, we never looked back. I knew we could do it; we were ready. We had 20 years under our belt by the time we expanded. We weren’t launching a new business; just taking it a 20-year old business and reinventing it, evolving, and growing.”
“The atmosphere here is as just important as the coffee,” says Co-Owner Doug Barber. “And the customer service. With our employees, we’ve found the right people who enjoy interacting with our customers and want to offer them a clean, comfortable environment and quality food choices.”
“After being in business for three years in Glastonbury, with our original Berkins Blend Café, we thought it might be time to try to scale our business,” says Co-Owner Andréa Hawkins.
Hartford Baking Company Owner Scott Kluger remembers doing 50-hour shifts when he first launched the business. “I was baking from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and then making deliveries. I’ve done every single job here at Hartford Baking Company,” he recalls.
INI Sips Co-Founder Davina Ismail on choosing a location: “We’ve got a long history in New Britain. We’ve lived here for many years and it has a special place in our hearts, so we wanted to stay in the area.”
J.René Coffee Roasters and Victus Coffee Principal Owner José René Martínez on relationship building: “We love our Park Road location I’m at that shop every morning. I’ve seen people on their first dates end up married and watched them strolling in with their first child. Those relationships happen because it’s more than just selling a product.”
“The more you promote local businesses, the more it benefits your business. Even if you’re right next to each other, if you promote each other, it only brings more business to that area,” emphasizes Rebel Dog Coffee Co-Owner Harrison Poltorak.
Saccuzzo Coffee Co. business partner Marco Saccuzzo on how the family business remains innovative: “We’re constantly coming up with new blends to meet our customers’ needs. We’re always doing market research, getting feedback from the coffee shops we sell to, and trying to stay one step ahead.”
“In the beginning, I wish we’d asked for more help and advice from other local restaurant and business owners, but now we’ve built that community. We know most of the owners of all the restaurants and many of the local businesses,” says Silk City Coffee Co-Owner Rob May.
“What makes Story and Soil different is the approach we’re taking—we want to reflect the community we are in. We want to do more than just serve a cup of coffee. We want to be able to connect people and make an impact through media and events and by bringing people together,” says Co-Owner Michael Acosta.
“I think specialty coffee is going to be the next big thing behind craft beer,” notes WeHa Brewing and Roasting Company Founder Cody McCormack. “There’s already a movement with people going to local coffee shops with locally roasted and ethically sourced beans. Even during the pandemic, with coffee shops closed, people continued to buy local.”
*Interview dates range from 2016 to 2021.