A peaceful transition to robust coffee production occurred in Columbus, Ohio, where Roosevelt Coffee Roasters moved the roasting process.
Moving from one luxury industrial facility in Franklinton to another in the historic Hilltop Bank building, the now socially active Midwest coffee company produces coffee beans from its Loring S15 roaster along with a neighboring company in the building, Kennedy Used Books.
The nearly 2,000-square-foot new space for coffee production has a more open design than previous Roosevelt digs, with ceilings nearly twice as high.
“Previously, we packed our work areas wherever it fits, but there hasn’t been a good flow. Now there is,” Roosevelt Coffee founder Kenny Sipes told the Daily Coffee News. “It’s nice to have an open layout. We are no longer constrained by low ceilings and haphazard masonry support columns in the middle of a room.”
The new floor plan allows the company to organize the process more comfortably in four stations: roasting; Packaging. rest periods, meetings and brewing; and two mezzanines for for-profit roastery offices and two cafes for non-profit social enterprises.
The new building is owned by an investment group whose membership includes fellow social entrepreneur John Rush. Rush is the owner of Third Way Café, a five-year-old neighborhood hilltop café that serves Roosevelt coffee while providing employment to former inmates.
Rush is also partially behind Kennedy Used Books, located in the front area of the Bank Building, which now boasts “the largest and most smelly used bookstore in Columbus.” The library will also provide opportunities for people returning from prison, as well as finding ways to support prison library systems, Columbus libraries, and local literacy programs.
The library currently runs “pop-up hours” three days a week, and the library eventually intends to host talks by local authors and provide space for community members to work, read, hang out and possibly drink coffee, although Sipes said Roosevelt does not intend to operate a retail coffee service on site.
“People are very welcome to look at the roaster, but it’s designed for business and not necessarily for tours yet,” Sipes said. Cafes are starting to return after the pandemic. It was a struggle. Every day is unpredictable, but this city has done nothing but do its best to support us along the way. We are humbly grateful.”
Meanwhile, Sipes said Roosevelt Coffee Roasters will develop new cold brewing products for home brewing and pursue more licensed retail opportunities in partnership with other companies around Columbus.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit that operates the for-profit Roosevelt Coffee Roasters, the non-profit Roosevelt Coffeehouse, and the Roosevelt Foundation, will continue to provide financial support to nonprofits working to tackle hunger, human trafficking, health care, and clean water.
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Howard Breman is Associate Editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He resides in Portland, Oregon.