Building Business, Crafting Community
We chatted with Roscoe's owners, Zack Parker and Jared Ward, about the highs and lows of business ownership.
See how their Wayne Bank business loan empowered them to build business and craft community.
Jared: For years, coffee to me – like most people - was just black with sugar, but one day I had a friend introduce me to freshly roasted coffee made using a small home roaster he had just gotten. I absolutely loved it and took immediate interest in the process; this is what started me down the path of roasting my own coffee. I knew the original owners of Roscoe’s and they were well aware of my interest in the roasting process at the time. On several occasions they offered to let me formally join them in the business, but I was working full-time, had started full-time school, and was a full-time dad. Eventually, as my passion for the business concept grew, I decided to come on as a part-owner. During that time I devoted much of my energy to learning the business, then finally began roasting Roscoe's' coffee on a small scale. As demand grew, we then made the decision to invest in a larger roaster to meet our needs.
Zack: I have a background in filmmaking which allowed me to travel to countries all over the world. In doing this I began to find a love – some may say obsession - with coffee and espresso. I was exposed to so many unique blends and flavors you just don’t often encounter in the states. I loved the intersection of artistry and science in my filmmaking, and began to notice all sorts of parallels to the coffee-roasting process. Long story short, I landed back in Richmond, found Roscoe’s, was very impressed by the coffee, and inevitably met Jared. After finding a common interest and passion with him, he invited me to help him craft the perfect espresso – I knew that was my ‘in’.
Jared: That was one of our first espressos which we fittingly named ‘Director’s Cut’. After that point, Zack basically stayed on as an ‘espresso consultant’ and we found more and more in common, namely that we had this shared vision for excellence and art. Around this time, the original owners had expressed that they were ready to step away from the business and pursue new endeavors. Fortunately, Zack and I had found a shared passion for the business, and we decided to move forward as joint owners.
Zack: Yes, there was a lot of caffeine consumption in those early days. For several years it had been a dream of mine to open a coffee shop, so this was the perfect opportunity for both of us. Needless to say, I joined efforts with Jared – just in time for a pandemic!
Jared: Insert Ben Brock and Wayne Bank! Seriously, the pandemic was the hardest season that we ever went through and having the local connection with Ben was indispensable in our being able to ride out the storm and stay in business. He helped us make local connections, informed us of stimulus opportunities that could help us, and was just a highly present friend and business advisor.
Zack: Absolutely – 2019 was shaping up to be our best year ever, then we were forced to adapt operations by running only the East Side drive through at the time.
Jared: Fortunately, coming out of the pandemic people came back with vigor and while we closed the east side location, we were able to maintain many loyal customers who now visit us regularly at our new location (416 N 10th Street). Wayne Bank was instrumental in helping us take ownership of Roscoe’s new building and find a space that gives us room to grow – not only in space for the community, but also in roasting and shipping operations as well.
Zack: With the new-found space we plan to do more roasting, bagging, and online sales so that we can ship more coffee all over the country. We also have plans for some great new features that will make the space an even more attractive destination to folks near and far. Partnering with many other businesses in the Loft Highway building has been a huge positive as well.
Jared: All in all, Ben and Wayne Bank have been loyal to our business at every turn and crossroads we've faced. We choose to bank local because we are invested in the success of our community, and we believe Wayne Bank is, too.
Zack: Yes - we have no shortage of vision for Roscoe's, but sometimes determining the best path to make the vision happen alludes us. That's where having that local relationship and connection has been so valuable. We want to see our community thrive, so we want to work with others who are invested locally as well.