November 19, 2018 - Copper Country Coffee Roasters, a local coffee roaster based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, started off in June 2018 as part of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation’s (SSMEDC) “Summer Company” program which helps local youth kickstart their companies, and has grown exponentially since. The company roasts and sells local coffee beans by the bag and also has a body scrub and is currently working on developing other products such as flavoured coffees.
Lars Moffatt, founder and sole proprietor of Copper Country Coffee Roasters, is originally from Bruce Mines, Ontario, and is now a resident of Sault Ste. Marie. After graduating high school, Moffatt left Northern Ontario to study business administration at the University of New Brunswick. Moffatt always had intentions of coming back to Northern Ontario and knew he wanted to start his own business – this is where the idea of a profitable and locally based coffee company came in. The company is named after his home town of Bruce Mines, a community that originated as a direct result of copper mining in the mid 1800’s, giving it the nickname “Copper Town”.
When he created Copper Country Coffee Roasters, Moffatt’s ultimate goal was to support local communities. For every bag and cup of coffee sold, a percentage is donated to a local charity in Northern Ontario. Since June, the company has already raised over $500 for local charities such as the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society and the Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District. Moffatt is also working towards creating a high school scholarship. He states, “When you drink your already amazing cup of coffee, it will taste that much better knowing you’re giving back to your community and supporting a local charity.”
With nine different flavours of coffee, one face and body scrub, and another five coffee flavours on the way, Copper Country Coffee Roasters was able to stand out among more than 160 entrepreneurs, allowing them to participate in the Pitch Off competition at the Bridges to Better Business forum. This annual forum is facilitated by the SSMEDC and allows entrepreneurs to connect with business leaders and gain first-hand knowledge from renowned experts. During the competition, Copper Country Roasters was one of two organizations who had the opportunity to pitch their business idea to event attendees.
Based on the public’s vote and judge’s scores, Copper Country Coffee Roasters won first place and a prize valued at over $19,000, including legal services from Laidlaw, Paciocco, Dumanski, Spadafora & Johnson LLP, a SooToday advertisement package, Starter Company Plus grant of $5,000, Broadband for E-Business and Marketing (BEAM) grant of $5,000, $1,000 cash courtesy of TD Canada Trust, and $500 cash courtesy of KPMG.
“Every single community in Northern Ontario is different and unique, and I not only wanted to create a coffee roasting company that makes ethically responsible, fair trade, organic coffee beans, but also wanted to represent Northern Ontario as a whole by naming our products after local areas.” says Moffatt. Some of the unique names of his products include Thunder Bay Awoken Giant Roast, Wawa Stompin’ Goose Roast, Elliott Lake Atomic Roast and Sault Ste. Marie Steel City Roast.
Copper Country Coffee Roasters’ products can be found at Stonehouse Wines, the Gelato Mill, Scott Coffee Co. and the Machine Shop in Sault Ste. Marie, Main Street pharmacy in Thessalon, Foodland in Elliott Lake, and more upcoming locations in Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Bruce Mines. Moffatt sees his company as a growing business, and hopes to welcome a high school co-op student during the summer of 2019.
Christine St-Pierre is a Communications & Outreach Officer at Northern Policy Institute.
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