Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bean buying: SwitchBack acquires Fifty Fifty

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 5:14 PM

As of Sunday, Feb. 15, Fifty Fifty Coffee House will change ownership — from former The Local food truck owners Jo Marini and Sara Crowell (who purchased the spot when it was the Raven's Nest) to neighboring SwitchBack Coffee Roasters owners Brandon DelGrosso and Nathan Bland

Marini says the former businesses already collaborated, dating back three years to The Local, and had been in talks for "better ways to integrate." The sale isn't because of the business struggling (she says it's strong), but for personal reasons, and because Marini views Crowell and herself as "starters ... we're great at creating brands and concepts and executing on them, but at the day's end, these are the guys who'll take that shop and make it endure over the long haul. We've already accomplished what we're best at."
click to enlarge Pourover service will expand as part of many overhauls ahead at Switchback. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Pourover service will expand as part of many overhauls ahead at Switchback.

DelGrosso, co-owner and co-roaster with Bland, says the Fifty Fifty name will stay for some time, but several months down the road, when they punch through the wall between the businesses, they may just go with the SwitchBack banner. They also aim to place a garage door on their current roasting side to fit a new drum roaster inside; to glass in the roaster for observance without noise; and to extend the café's bar. The food menu will likely grow by a few items soon, too. 

What's unique about the drum roaster coming in is that they plan to keep their air roaster going as well, and treat the same beans to different roasters to test subtleties — a cupping experiment that no other local outfit could pull off under the same roof, that any of us are aware of. 

"We see this as an entire process," he says, "the whole roast-to-cup experience, that's our dream."

To that end, they're also acquiring roaster (the guy, not the machine) Bevan Cammell from Colorado Coffee Merchants. He starts on the 16th, and DelGrosso says "he comes with roasting knowledge, be he's also a fantastic barista. He'll implement a training program for us to train up our baristas. ... The whole thing is that we're elevating everything across the board."

As of Feb. 23, hours will expand too, to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, with even longer hours come summertime. 


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