Oak City Coffee Roasters – Who are you?
In 2012 we started Oak City Coffee Roasters to give the people of Raleigh their own coffee – one we can all love because it’s exceptional, farmer-direct, craft-roasted right downtown, and making an impact in our city and the world.
Our motto is “Love Locally, Love Globally” -meaning that we intentionally benefit everyone we reach in the best way we can make possible. It felt like a crazy idea to create direct impact out of thin air, but we went for it!
Owner Bill Landahl talks about how it all started:
“My friend John and I have spent a lot of time getting to know and love people in South Raleigh – people who are stuck in cycles of no opportunity. We thought if we had a company, we could offer some of these guys something.
As fortune would have it, I then met a colleague at work who grew up on his father’s coffee farm in Colombia. We talked about getting his father’s coffee into the US and maybe finding someone to roast it, and he could sell it, and that would be cool.
I started looking into it for him on Christmas Day, 2011, and immediately realized I didn’t want to find a roaster, I wanted to be a roaster! What a great occupation! Making something of quality that people love, something that can have positive impact- providing jobs, expressing compassion, and with the chance to return to poor regions abroad where I had worked many years before – only now, with opportunities for prosperity. There was no way I wasn’t going to do this!
A month later we bought a 10kg commercial roaster and started learning everything from scratch. John and I landed in an old Raleigh fire station (which was awesome !) learned to roast coffee, and the dream started growing. If I was going to have a business, it would be built for impact- to make a difference in Raleigh and the world.
This whole venture will come full circle when John and I support and start up new businesses that will be run and owned by the guys we’ve met in South Raleigh. Guys who only need the opportunity, and they’ll make their mark in the community. I believe when they succeed, they’ll bring the whole community with them. That’s big picture.”
Old Fire Station No. 4, where it all started
….see part 2 for continued beginnings…