This article was first published in The Lafayette Leader by Doug Howard.
When you think of coffee hot spots, Indiana might not leap to mind. But the state's location has enabled many Hoosier businesses, among them Copper Moon Coffee, to thrive by selling their products in markets throughout the country.
“Indiana, in general, is a good location because we can service customers on the East Coast, the South, and the West pretty efficiently,” said Cary Gutwein, president of Copper Moon Coffee. “It’s a nice central location to be able to sell nationally.”
As its sales footprint has grown across the U.S., the company remains dedicated to its Indiana roots.
This summer, Copper Moon Coffee joined the ranks of the Indiana Grown program.
The initiative by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) creates a system designating food products as being grown and/or prepared in Indiana. One main program goal is to create awareness of the products among the state's consumers.
Hoosiers spend around $16 billion each year purchasing food, yet less than 10 percent of that is sourced from within the state, according to the ISDA.
As part of Indiana Grown, a sampling of Copper Moon Coffee’s products are featured along with those of other Indiana-based companies at retailers such as Marsh Supermarkets, for example.
“A big-mission of Indiana Grown is to support companies that process products in Indiana - and we certainly do that,” Cary said. “We’re buying coffees from where coffee is grown, but we’re roasting it all here in Indiana.”
Established in the late 1960s, Copper Moon had already made a name for itself serving mostly foodservice customers when Cary and his brother, Brad, purchased the then-Indianapolis-based company in 2007.
When the company began searching for a larger facility for its corporate offices and roasting facilities, it found the right fit in 2013 in Lafayette.
“It’s been a good location for us to grow from,“ Cary said. “We’ve done some expansions since then already. It’s given us a lot of opportunities.”
Some of those opportunities included continuing to focus on the wholesale side of the business while expanding the company’s offerings.
One of those was to open coffee shops in nontraditional settings, such as Indianapolis International Airport in 2008 and later within Indiana University Health complexes in central Indiana.
Later this year, the company plans to open a traditional, full-service coffee shop not far from its headquarters on Lafayette’s east side.