On the daily grind

Locally-owned coffee shop provides familiarity and personal roasting

by Maren Bauer
Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

BlueNose Coffee has established itself over its first year of operation as a retreat for many in Farmington. It’s quiet, cozy, and familiar, making people feel at ease.

Having worked at Coffee and Tea LTD in Linden Hills, co-owner Tim Aylward said he wanted to expand his future prospects in the coffee business after working for LTD for four years as a manager. While he had learned the importance and skills of individual coffee roasting, he also wanted to be able to provide in-house drinks.

Aylward along with partner Sarah Missler and his parents Liz and George Aylward purchased the former Dunn Bros location at 20700 Chippendale Ave. W., and they haven’t looked back since.

BlueNose serves a wide variety of loose-leaf teas and coffee drinks, including some off the beaten path: butter coffee, also known as bulletproof coffee (popular among those who follow the Paleo diet and looking for an appetite-decreaser and slow-release caffeine), and individual cups of decaf.

Aylward took some time out recently to answer some questions for the newspaper.

What is the business operation like?

The business is owned by my direct family including my partner Sarah, and my parents George and Liz Aylward who live in Minneapolis currently. My parents are originally from New York and like myself have moved around quite a lot. We have all lived here off and on since 1998 except for Sarah who has lived here her whole life. My parents helped out immensely with the build out and the setup of the business. Lately they are involved but more in an advisory role and a lot of the accounting. A lot of the day to day operations falls to me, while the online (www.bluenosecoffee.com) and promotional work is done mostly by Sarah, when our daughter Evelyn allows. She will be 18 months old soon so we have a very busy household.

What are some of the products and services you offer?

On the daily grind, yup, sorry, we provide a wide selection of brewed cups of coffee and tea and other concoctions. We are able to make just about every coffee drink that is available on the market today, including a few that are a bit on the boundary of things like our butter coffee or our individually made cups of decaf.  We feature custom roasted coffee. Custom roasted coffee is something that you hear about all the time but in reality only a handful of roasters actually roast individual pounds of coffee, at no added cost for private customers. We feel that everyone should know their coffee roaster. …

I have always compared coffee to bread in that you want it fresh, really really fresh. Ideally coffee is consumed in the first week after it is roasted and if you think about that, that is not much time. Therefore, at BlueNose we would like our customers to order their coffee from us ahead of time, just a one day notice on most orders is fine, so that we can roast as close to the pick up time as possible.

What would you like BlueNose to be known for?

I would really like BlueNose to be known for connecting people with the coffee or tea that really suits them best. A lot of that comes from getting to know your customers. Since we are such a small operation, we are able to take the time to really make sure we are on the same page as the customer, and that the customer is happy. I always tell people as they are leaving the shop with a pound of coffee, “Please let me know what you think of that coffee, even if you hate it, seriously we will find something you will love, maybe not the first time but we will get it.”

What’s next for BlueNose?

In the next step of our business we want to expand by solidifying our customer base in Farmington and the surrounding area by continuing to promote purchases of loose coffee and tea. While the daily sale of cups of coffee and other products is key to the bottom line, the real focus for us is the sale of loose coffee and tea. We try encourage this through great customer service and by contributing to local charities through silent auctions which feature gift certificates that encourage the consumer to come in for six months of coffee, a pound of coffee per month.

How is the business involved in the community?

So far through BlueNose we have been able to get connected with the local community through a variety of ways including providing free beverages at charity events like the walk for Relay For Life and by donating silent auction donations to a wide cross section of charities and school groups. We have to be very selective about where and when we can afford to donate free beverages and that’s something we are still struggling to find the balance for. … We also feature a different nonprofit organization every month through our website. … We have successfully teamed up with (these organizations) to raise funds and awareness. It really is such unique position for us to be in, where we can do what we love and also help the causes that we care passionately about.

Why Farmington?

Farmington has turned out to be the ideal location for us so far between the “turn key” roastery/shop and the drive thru with easy access from Highway 3. We have felt very welcome by our neighbors at Roundbank and Anytime Fitness. The mall that where we lease our space has recently really come into its own with Bourbon Butcher anchoring the other end of the building from us and the amount of customers around on a daily basis has exceeded our expectations. One of the things we were looking for in a location was to be a little outside of the cities so that we weren’t faced with as much competition as you can see in places like Minneapolis. In Farmington you feel that people are thankful that we are here.

Contact Maren Bauer at [email protected].