When flooding ravaged his downtown Utica coffee shop a week before it was supposed to open, Jesse Martin eventually found a silver lining.
“It’s hard to call it a good thing, but it really did turn in to a good thing in that we got to kind of tweak some of our bar design and build the space we really wanted to,” said Martin, who owns Character Coffee with his wife, Katie. “It gave us a second chance to do something great, which is not something that happens in business.”
Character Coffee, which specializes in single-origin coffee, eventually opened in December at the former Utica Catholic Book Store, 171 Genesee St. It was delayed after a plumbing line ruptured in early August, Jesse Martin said.
A Utica-area native, Jesse Martin moved back in 2014 from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the 27-year-old and his wife fell in love with the specialty coffee industry.
He started a mobile coffee catering business that — through a friend of a friend connection, he said — caught the attention of the building’s owners.
What makes Character Coffee unique?
Honestly, our commitment to working with roasters who practice direct trade for making sure the farmers get paid a higher wage with their coffee. We’ve got three that we’re offering from different areas of the world and we always have one just like regular coffee to appeal to the everyday person just trying to get a quick cup of coffee.
It’s always been home, and while we were in Charlotte, my wife and I just constantly found ourselves looking back to Utica. There’s so much development going on and there’s so much great stuff happening in Utica, I was like, “We’ve got to go home and commit to this city whether it’s working at a job locally or starting our own business. We just have to go home and be a part of it.”
We’ve got a small family, and we wanted our (2-year-old) to grow up seeing us build and invest in our community, not just live somewhere where a perfect picture’s been painted. Charlotte’s a great city, but it’s very developed.
What are your future plans?
We’re just here to try to do our best to be consistent, to be open, hear everybody’s stories and keep getting better. My whole team is committed to doing our best to perfect this craft and make sure everybody gets a great experience.
By Greg Mason
(c)2018 Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y.
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