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Reborn in Motown, James Oliver Coffee opens Flagship Cafe and BakeryDaily Coffee News by Roast Magazine


The new James Oliver Coffee cafe and bakery in the former Detroit Institute of Bagels space in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. All images courtesy of James Oliver Coffee.

James Oliver Cafe opened a flagship cafe and bakery in Detroit, ushering in a new era for the roasting company founded more than a quarter of a century ago in a barn in rural New Hampshire.

In the former home of the beloved Detroit Institute of Bagels, which closed after seven years in Corktown, wood floors and rafters, wood furniture, vintage pieces, and earthy brick walls echo the coffee company’s northeast origins.

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“Antiques are our favorite thing to do whenever we visit family,” David Shock, co-owner of James Oliver Coffee, son-in-law of company founder James “Jim” Oliver Clark, told DCN. “We used an old cooler to house the espresso pump and filter, and vintage trophy cases from our house as bakery cases.”

It was in 1995 that Jim Clark began roasting coffee under the name Black Bear Micro Roastery in a converted barn on a 100-acre farm near Lake Winnipesaukee in Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. Her eldest daughter, Miranda Clark, eventually moved to Detroit to pursue her teaching career. It was there that she met and later married Detroit barista David Shock, who had worked for over 15 years in the food and beverage industry.

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“We decided to move the roasting here because Miranda’s parents were ready to semi-retire. [and] working on new businesses, ”Shock said. “Jim is still consulting, and we are delighted that he and his wife Annie are coming to visit the first flagship cafe.”

While the general aesthetic of the new store recalls the bucolic roots of the company, the metallic shine of the 3 groups of the bar La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine and the automated roar of its Poursteady brew-bot is at home in Motor City.

James Oliver Coffee takes advantage of the old 3,000 square foot bagelry by offering its own fresh baked goods, as well as enlarged seating and a take out window.

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“The previous space was very successful but was probably 90% completed,” Shock said. “We wanted to create a space more focused on dining but able to handle high volume. We have opened up the dining room and will have both a courtyard and patio, as well as a walk-in window to speed up delivery operations. [and prevent it] to block the dining room.

The original of the company Petroncini Roaster, which has been significantly altered by Jim over the years, continues to produce fresh roasts in an off-site roaster near the new store. From there, Shock and Miranda Clark spent two years maintaining the company’s direct-to-consumer sales, expanding its wholesale reach, and renaming the company to honor its founder, before opening the Coffee.

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“Jim had created his own green bean storage room that maintains temperature and humidity. We had to make sure we did the same when we moved the business to Detroit, ”Shock said. “Of course we want to maintain its standards and style of roasting while adding a more educational component to better serve the coffee community. “

As Miranda Clark and Shock’s mother were both teachers, supporting public education remains a passion for the company. He donates $ 5 on the sale of each 12-ounce bag of a new blend called Alma Mater to Detroit Public Schools. The brand could also deepen the history of the United States through certain upcoming companies.

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Shock said, “We are in talks with Historic Fort Wayne Detroit to move the roasting there to one of their buildings – to be the first tenant of a former fort that dates back to the Civil War.”

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James Oliver Coffee Co. is located at 1236 Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Tell us about your new coffee or roast here.

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