Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    5

    Country Roaster or City Roaster

    We converted a small barn on our rural property that we converted to our coffee roastery. It's about the size of a one car garage. Our property is up a steep narrow dirt road and is far enough away from our neighbors that they never complain about the smoke from our roasting. Also, being in an agricultural area we don't have to worry about expensive after burners, etc. However, we could never get a semi up here and the road requires either 4 wheel drive or chains during the winter. We are also about an hour from our major markets. It is also quite beautiful here with low overhead.
    So, the issue is, we are outgrowing our current space. We are going to be moving up to a 10 kg roaster or larger and that won't fit in our current space. Does anyone have experience or advice on whether it would be better to just add on here or get a space closer to the metro area for convenience to our customers, suppliers, and not having to deal with country winter driving?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Near Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    4,719
    It sounds like there are a lot of positives to staying where you are.

    Can you knock out a couple of walls and make the barn bigger?

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    5
    So, are you voting for the inconvenience of the long drive time and our bad road over the hassles that come from running a coffee roasting business closer to the city?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Near Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    4,719
    Quote Originally Posted by LucyJos View Post
    So, are you voting for the inconvenience of the long drive time and our bad road over the hassles that come from running a coffee roasting business closer to the city?

    If you've been okay so far with dealing with the long drive, along with the bad winter driving conditions for a few months out of the year, maybe staying put and expanding would work for you. You wrote, "It is also quite beautiful here with low overhead." That is big plus, especially when you consider the additional overhead and other costs of jumping through all of the municipal hoops to relocate and set up shop in the city.

    I'm sure some of the other members who are roasters will comment soon.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    786
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    If you've been okay so far with dealing with the long drive, along with the bad winter driving conditions for a few months out of the year, maybe staying put and expanding would work for you. You wrote, "It is also quite beautiful here with low overhead." That is big plus, especially when you consider the additional overhead and other costs of jumping through all of the municipal hoops to relocate and set up shop in the city.

    I'm sure some of the other members who are roasters will comment soon.
    Roaster or not, this is a business decision that could make a huge difference in your future. You are growing where you are, this is good...dance with the devil you know. If you move, you will encounter issues that you never recognized before the move, then it might be too late. I recall a company here in Southern California that made roll top desks. A very long established company, and very successful, with a broad distribution base. They got this idea that by relocating closer to their raw materials on the east coast...they would also have proximity to a new, untapped customer base. The one thing that they did not factor in was the inexpensive, and trained labor here in SoCal. They moved to an area where they had to deal with the fact that all the competent workers worked for labor unions, and the unskilled labor was typically unreliable and expensive because of waste and low productivity. They were out of business in a year. So I guess what I'm suggesting is to consider the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" in terms of the move.

    One additional comment: Poll your customers...what they have to say might surprise you. The fact that you operate out of a barn in a rural area might be the attraction...what sets you apart from your competition. It's a quaint story that may be a big reason people buy your coffee. That will go away when you move to the big city.
    Last edited by Mr.Peaberry; 09-23-2015 at 12:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    417
    I was in the country, west of Ireland near Galway, then moved close to Dublin to cut out my 2-1/2 hour delivery commute. Soon got tired of the city and moved back to the country, but further away this time. And now I've just about stopped delivering and ship most everything to individual stores or distributors. So you can see what my answer would be.

    But I've got to think there are more factors at stake than meet the eye and I'm not sure you're thinking about the future so for what it's worth: It sounds like you're doing your own distribution now but what happens when you grow so much you don't have time for that? Then you're going to have to get someone else to handle that for you and your reason for moving to the city will have disappeared. (Oh, make sure that right now you've built in enough margin in your price to pay a distributor -- 25% isn't unusual and if you analyze your costs you're probably spending about that right now when you figure in all your hard and soft costs -- and still get the profit you need to make the business work.) Also lots more regulation, possibly, for running a roaster in/near the city.

    And as Toper suggested, you've probably got enough space right now. I started in a one car garage and even though we've grown a lot we could still make that work with smart shelving and ordering less coffee more often. But if you don't have enough space you could add on or get a 20' container to store your beans, packaging, etc. in. If you go the container route be aware that they can condensate with temperature fluctuations so make sure you insulate it. I'd also put pallets in it and then set my bags of beans on that so there is air circulation below them.

    As to the delivery problem hitch a trailer to your 4x4 and meet the delivery truck at the bottom of the hill and just drive it up (I had to do that when I lived near the city when they sent too big of a delivery truck -- and I was schlepping around a pallet load of beans in a car. No fun but we worked our way through it). Or can you just go to the truck depot when you're near town and have them load the pallet of beans right on to your pickup?

    Finally if being in the country gives your brand some uniqueness that you are already using or could use in your marketing you'll lose that moving to the city.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    5
    It sounds like your experience very much parallels ours. I have to meet the semi at the bottom of the hill and transfer the beans into our van to get them up to our place. My wife is a master organizer and we have squeezed an amazing amount of stuff into our barn and I would have to add on to get a bigger roaster in here. And I think we do get alot of support for 'living the dream' out in the country. The other factor in our decision making process that I haven't mentioned is that we have two school aged girls and the local schools, how should I say, don't have the resources that schools in better funded districts have. Of course, if we move closer to town and the business flounders due to unforeseen obstacles, we'll have a whole other set of issues. Decisions, decisions.... thanks everyone for your feedback.

 

 

Remove Ads

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Mil City Roaster
    By TomP in forum Coffee Roasters
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-08-2014, 01:51 PM
  2. Pros and cons on US Roaster 5 kilo total electric roaster
    By Mcintosh34 in forum Coffee Roasters
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-10-2014, 12:54 PM
  3. 2k Roaster Authority Victory 2 drum roaster for sale - $5500
    By wilsonfisk in forum Business to Business B2B
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-29-2014, 05:58 PM
  4. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-11-2013, 11:58 AM