Tug Hill Artisan Roasters, LLC.
For Tug Hill Artisan Roasters, coffee isn't just what you drink in the morning. It's a story. It begins with the farmer's passion of raising the very best beans and ends with you sipping it in your favorite happy mug. Scott and Vanessa Gilbert are excited to be characters in this story by bringing out he flavors of those beans in the roasting process so you can taste where they came from and how they were processed. So you can taste their story.
Owners: Scott and Vanessa Gilbert
Company Name: Tug Hill Artisan Roasters, LLC
Year Established: 2016
Number of Employees: 3 part-time
About the owners: Scott and Vanessa Gilbert have lived in Lewis County since 2015. We moved here because a friend offered Scott a driving job. We stayed and started Tug Hill Artisan Roasters. We have two children, Albin 7 and Lydia 5.
Describe your start-up story: Scott, in particular, has always been interested in small business. When the driving job wasn't really morphing into what had originally been described, starting a small business seemed like a better route to achieve a more desirable lifestyle. A friend, Greg Widrick, my brother, Ian Gilbert, and I originally pulled our money and co-founded Tug Hill Artisan Roasters. Since then, Greg and Ian have moved on. It's always been a boot strapped operations where we've tried to grow naturally and keep our debt in check. Starting asmall business is inherently a risky venture, but ther is a calculated risk and an irresponsible risk. We've always tried really hard to calculate our risks, so as not to jeopardize our income or the income of our employees. From birthing the idea to opening operations took about a year.
Why did you choose to do business in Lewis County? What are the advantages and/or opportunities of doing business here? We stayed in Lewis County because we like the community and the nature. We like living on the Tug Hill and having the Adirondacks in our backyard. Barriers to entry are lowre in Lewis County than in more expensive urban areas. Resources are available to us here that are not available in other locations. I also like to think that there is a group of people who are looking to work in unique and innovative for profit businesses. I'm very appreciative and thankful for our staff. I also believe that if you are able to create an environment wher people are able to grow and realize their potential (and are encouraged to realize their potential), it's not difficult to build a team. Tug Hill Artisan Roasters, LLC can be a place for people to come, work for a while, and gain skills that will anable to grow in their careers- wherever they should take them.
"Resources are available to us [in Lewis County] that are not available in other locations."
What advice would you give to someone starting a business in Lewis County? Lewis County can be a great place to base your business. The community is welcoming and supportive. Lewis County has a small population and for most businesses, in order to find enough clientele you're going to have to look further afield. We did this by going to events, participating in farmers markets and reaching out to stores and cafes throughout Central and Northern NY. Don't expect your customers to come to you!
What are some of the current projects your working on and looking forward to? This past winter we built a “coffee trailer”, which is like a small coffee shop on wheels. We'll have our mobile unit out serving our own roasted coffee at various events this summer and fall. The big project that will be occupying our time for the next few years is our attempt at revitalizing the old jail building in Lowville. When the project is finished we want to have a brick and mortar coffee shop/flagship store and move our roastery into the building. There should definitely be room for other partner businesses. We want to focus on using the building to develop Lewis County’s tourism industry by bringing in unique stores and services that would work well together under one roof. Having a brick and mortar storefront and a fully equipped commercial kitchen will open up a lot of opportunities for developments in culinary arts.
"We want to focus on using the building to develop Lewis County’s tourism industry by bringing in unique stores and services that would work well together under one roof."
Are there any local partnerships or organizations that have helped you along in your business journey? Yes. The community has been very helpful and supportive. Nolt’s Country Store was the first store to take a chance on us and allow us to stock our coffee. The PB&J Cafe was the first cafe that wanted to partner by serving our coffee. We’ve received some private loans from other entrepreneurs in the area that have enabled us to purchase equipment and green coffee by the pallet. Through the Micro-Enterprise Loan, Naturally Lewis enabled us to really ramp up our cold brew production. Also, the Lewis County Department ofPlanning was able to put us in touch with and apply for a large NYS Main Street Grant through the Department of Homes and Community Renewal (if everything comes together, this is the catalyst that will enable us to take on the Old Jail Project).