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A Midland-based coffee company’s big move this year was about more than claiming new space for a growing business. Now, it’s serving fresh coffee daily out of its new retail café.
Creation Coffee is a four-and-a-half years old wholesale and subscription coffee company located in Midland, Michigan. Jacob Spence and Ben Marsh, founders and co-owners of Creation Coffee, met at Northwood University in 2010 and started roasting coffee to help fuel their studies.
Marsh and Spence reconnected after college in 2016 and decided to try their hands at the coffee business. They bought a 5 kilo Toper commercial roaster and debuted Creation Coffee at their local farmer’s market. Today, Creation Coffee is served in over 90 locations in eight different states, and the company has branched into café equipment, alternative milks and more.
Their latest addition is the café, which opened this November at 5023 Eastman Ave. in Midland. The new location offers a clean and minimalistic café space where customers can enjoy baked goods, teas and, of course, freshly roasted coffee.
Despite a grand opening event that happened within a week of a state order to limit restaurants to carry-out services, Creation Coffee was already prepared with mobile ordering and curbside pick-up options available at creationtogo.com.
Coffee served at the café comes directly from Creation Coffee’s own in-house roasting operations. Marsh explained that the roasting operation is the result of years of meticulous trial and error, self-teaching and logging tens-of-thousands of coffee batches to ensure a quality product.
“We’ve had a lot of growing and learning as professional coffee roasters. A lot of brutal self-awareness with our own coffees,” Marsh said.
The company offers between 3-4 staple blends throughout the year and a variety of single origin coffees that alternate depending on availability and other factors. The options range from light to dark roasts, with a focus on quality and traceability — an effort, Marsh explained, that is the company’s way of making its product accessible to diverse preferences for coffee.
Like many third-wave coffee entrepreneurs, Marsh and Spence take pride in the coffees they choose to feature.
“Every brand has their style,” Spence said. “A lot comes down to what we enjoy in a coffee: Creation Coffee offerings are going to have a high level of sweetness and depth of flavor – like complexity – and richness.”
When people asked Marsh and Spence whether they would ever open their own coffee shop, they remembered laughing the idea off at first.
“That’s not our gig – that’s not what we do. We’re wholesalers. We weren’t sure we’d get to the scale where we could do both well,” Spence said.
That changed after Creation Coffee began selling café equipment in 2019. The company’s expansion into equipment sales paved the way for the business to expand across state lines and put Marsh and Spence in the retail space for the first time, training new café owners and their staff on how to use brewers, grinders and more.
After training café owners and selling coffee equipment to around 40 cafés, Marsh and Spence decided it was time for a shop of their own.
“We thought it would be a cool way to present our coffees to people exactly the way we want them to be experienced,” Marsh said.
Their new café and roasting facility is one step in what they hope to be continued growth. The duo aims to grow into its wholesale business as a one-stop shop for cafes, as well as possibly opening more cafés if the opportunity is right.
“To go from playing behind the scenes as a roaster to a more customer-facing role is exciting for us, Spence said. “We’ve always been pen pals with our customers. Now with our shops, we can see the actual end experience.”
OUT NOW: Creation Coffee’s 2020 Holiday Release, is available for a limited time. Shop for your bag here.
*All photos courtesy of Creation Coffee
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