"There is something about coffee that builds connection. I started Heritage Coffee to help people in this area build relationships.’"
“There is something about coffee that builds connection. I started Heritage Coffee to help people in this area build relationships.
Before coming to Birmingham, my family had moved around a lot because we do disaster relief work, helping people rebuild communities. We started right after Hurricane Katrina. We were in Gulfport, Mississippi for a couple years and then we moved to New Orleans. In 2011, we came to Birmingham because massive supercell tornadoes devastated a lot of the area around here. We liked the area, so we stayed.
The Ensley district in Birmingham has been overlooked for quite a while and I would like to help bring a sense of community back. In my family, one of the things we do is set out card tables, play some Euchre, and drink some coffee. So I want to build that kind of feeling here at Heritage Coffee, among the people of Ensley.
We opened Thanksgiving 2019, and we had gotten a little bit of lead time into 2020 before March when everything really got crazy. Starting in January, I introduced a King Cake Latte to celebrate Mardi Gras and our promotion of it on Facebook and Instagram started getting some traction. Then a couple of articles came out about it. From January to March, I was really seeing some promising sales for the rest of the year. And then at the end of March, the bottom fell out. Everybody just kind of scaled back and stayed home, so we ended up closing for a couple months. We’ve been trying to rebuild our sales base and our clients and everything ever since we reopened.
It’s been difficult because everything has transitioned more towards being home, or just going between home and work and only making stops for necessary errands like groceries. So I lost a lot of my regulars that we had built from January to March.
We’re working on getting online ordering and curbside pickup going. That way, people feel a little more comfortable because they don't necessarily have to come in, or if they do come in, they don't have to stay around very long. That’s different from what I had envisioned at the beginning, of course, because I wanted this to be a spot where you can come in, slow down and relax.
When people ask me why I named the shop ‘Heritage Coffee,’ I explain that I want to build something that leaves a lasting impact. I want to build something that, you know, hopefully my sons will be able to take over, if that's what they want to do. I want to leave something for the next generation.” - Josh, Heritage Coffee #Alabama