Heritage Coffee expands corporate headquarters

Hidden behind sheets of Tyvek siding, Heritage Coffee quietly expanded its corporate offices in the Willoughby district, adding to the much needed and continued gentrification of the area. A formal opening will take place next month.

“It was time to develop new things,” founder and owner Grady Saunders said. “We always wanted a complete sensory evaluation room.”

And that’s what now fills the space along with staff offices and plenty of brew knickknacks.

“We’ve never had a place to put up all of our historical stuff,” Saunders said. “Now we do.”

Previously offices were located in the back of the building adjacent to the bowling alley on Willoughby Street where their coffee roaster stands. The front of the building has changed hands over the years, once housing the old Salvation Army and even a day care, before Heritage expanded into the front.

For about five days every week, tours come through to see the large roster in the back and learn how the coffee is processed.

“We do tours, coffee education—for our staff, for our customers. We do company training,” Saunders said. “We do all forms of coffee education.”

They’ve always trained their staff on how to properly work the espresso and coffee machines to brew the coffee served in storefronts across the state where Heritage employees 62 people.

“We always had them learn on the machine,” Saunders said, “but now they can learn the differences in flavor profiles.”

Saunders pointed out the fine nuances in coffee brewing and what is put into each of their roasts, lamenting the ever-popular Keurig K-Cup brewing machines that make cups of coffee in less than a few minutes.

“You can brew a pot of coffee for the same amount you could buy a pod for,” Saunders said, “and then throw away the pot.”

Though the Tyvek siding may deter potential customers from coming and learning more about the locally roasted coffee, it’s par for the course. Still in a transitional phase, the revitalization of the Willoughby district is well underway.

Across the street from Heritage, the first wall of the State Archives Building is already erected and standing as that project moves forward.

Adjacent to the State Archives Building is the shopping center and grocery store that will also get a facelift soon.

“It’s going to be a neat area,” Saunders said.

• Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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