Slow economy hasn’t dried up Mesa County residents’ thirst for coffee

Co-owner Roni Welsh works the drive-up window at Morning Mission Coffee, 502 Hwy 6&50 in Fruita.

The slow economy hasn’t dried up Mesa County residents’ thirst for coffee, according to local shop owners and supply distributors.

Some coffee businesses are even expanding.

Dan and Roni Welsh, the owners of Colorado Legacy Coffee, opened their operation in the Grand Valley five years ago after they decided to move from Oregon on a whim when their recreational vehicle broke down at a festival in Fruita.

“Our numbers are up, and we haven’t lost a coffee account in the last 13 or 14 months due to the economy,” Roni Welsh aid.

They opened a drive-through coffee stand in Fruita, Morning Mission Coffee, earlier this month, and they said business has been strong. They also own Aspen Street Coffee, 136 E. Aspen Ave in Fruita, and have a retail and distribution shop at 1048 Independent Ave., Suite A105.

“In the midst of this horrible economy we opened our second retail location, and we’ve had a great first week,” Welsh said.

Dan Welsh added, “We’re going to do a couple more drive-throughs in Grand Junction.”

In Seattle, drive-through coffee shops are common, and they are what the Welshes are modeling their shops after. Customers in Seattle can buy cups as large as 32 ounces that can have as many as six shots of espresso, Roni Welsh said. They were surprised during visits to Colorado that there were no stands like they were used to in the Northwest.

The Welshes said their business owes a thank-you to another business from the Northwest, Starbucks. They said Starbucks helped educate Grand Valley residents about what good coffee tastes like and made them comfortable with the price.

“We clearly understand that we wouldn’t be here if Starbucks hadn’t come,” Dan Welsh said.
Steve Jarrett, the branch manager of Farmer Bros. Coffee, 2848 Chipeta Ave., agrees that customers have higher expectations.

“In the past the mentality was coffee’s coffee. I think they’re finding out that’s not true,” Jarrett said, adding, “The palate of the general population has gotten better.”

Farmer Bros., a California-based company, supplies coffee to restaurants and convenience stores. Jarrett said sales have still been good, except for at gas stations that were on routes frequented by oil and gas workers.

“The normal coffee drinker doesn’t stop drinking coffee just because of the economy,” he said.


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