Sidney Wilder, Devin Rowe, Hannah McNabb, Ed Barkowski
The coffee industry is, by current practices, patently unsustainable. It relies on fossil fuels – in varying measure – to grow, harvest, ship, receive, roast and package. Like any other industry in the modern world, this reliance is currently, sadly and almost entirely unavoidable. But within the existing bounds, we do ALL WE CAN to ensure sustainability and adherence to environmental, social and economical health and soundness.
Our company is Organic and Fair Trade certified. At our core, Holistic Management is the framework for our decision-making and models our guiding principles. In house, we recycle all plastic, metal, jute, packaging materials, cardboard and paper used in our daily processing. We even tend to work with the lights off, favoring natural sunshine from our large south-facing windows. In our community, we encourage the awareness of purchase power and its influence by offering competitive wholesale pricing of our product, which is unparalleled in flavor, freshness, friendliness and consciousness. We are a small grassroots mom-and-pop company that cares BIG about our impact!
1994 – Bill and Cheryl Mehaffey start High Country Coffees on route 24 in Buena Vista, Colorado. The company began roasting coffee to serve at its onsite cafe and sell to the greater Arkansas Valley area.
1996 (circa) – The name “Bongo Billy’s” is added to the company, making it Bongo Billy’s High Country Coffees.
2001 – The cafe and roastery diverge. The cafe is bought by Pyleco, LLC, and the roasting portion split off to focus on wholesale accounts.
2007 – Longtime visitors and recent residents of Buena Vista, Joel and Laurie Benson, purchase the roasting facility and company from the Mehaffeys, late in the year. Shortly following the transaction, the couple re-branded the company as the Buena Vista Roastery, keeping the Bongo’s heritage in the form of several proprietary blends, marketing effects and roast profiles.
2009 – With a new location on Main Street, in the old Buena Vista Jailhouse, the company began showcasing its product across the street, on the ground floor of the historic Orpheum Theatre building at 409 East Main.
2011 – A new, larger space is constructed adjacent the Orpheum location, and the brightly-lit corner cafe opens for business, complete with an expanded seating area, updated menu and attached bakery. This cafe quickly becomes an unofficial community center and gathering place for locals and visitors, alike.
2015 – Having spent a number of years roasting beans in the rear of the new cafe space at 414 East Main (following a move across the street from the Jailhouse), the wholesale division seeks and finds its latest location at 215 Tabor Street, Buena Vista. The cafe is, in turn, sold to Annika Fouch (now Annika Woolmington), who was previously lead baker in the same building.
2016 – In an homage to the company’s roots, the Buena Vista Roastery resurrects its early moniker to begin selling coffee under the label of Bongo’s Coffee.