Great Coffee and Cozy Atmostphere at Rogue Valley Roasting Co.
It was just eleven years ago that Dustin Way was a young kid fresh out of college and not sure exactly where his life was heading. That all changed when he walked into Rogue Valley Roasting Co. (917 E. Main Street) one day for a cup of coffee.
“Despite my degree in Biology from Oregon State University, my real passion has always been people and customer service,” Dustin said. “Over the years, I had worked in all levels of restaurants, from dishwasher to barista, and my mom (Cindy Bernard) and I had been talking for about a year prior to me graduating about starting a drive-through coffee business. At the time, we thought that market was heavily saturated, so we didn’t follow through on it.”
Still on the lookout for a business opportunity, he happened one day upon the Roasting Company. “After a couple of visits, I was hooked and fell in love with the place,” he said. “The baristas got to know me, and I told them I was interested in starting a coffee business, to which one replied, ‘Well, you know this place is for sale …’”
Four months later he and mom bought the business, and the rest is history.
“I had never managed another employee a day in my prior working history, but here I was, at 24 years old, not only a manager of eight employees, but an owner of the same business. It was quite an education.”
Dustin eventually purchased his mom’s share of the business in 2015. He’s married to Aimee, a teacher at Ashland High School, and they have two kids—Gavin, 8, and Elise, 7. “They are my future baristas in training,” he joked.
Since 1994, when it was owned by Deborah and Jerry Quast, the Roasting Company has been a fixture in the Railroad District. The charming, cozy atmosphere is like having coffee in your living room.
“It’s a place where locals come to not only grab a quick cup of coffee but to spend time with friends, conduct business, or enjoy a beer with William, our sweet neighborhood celebrity cat,” Dustin said.
In addition to Certified Organic coffees, roasted by RoCo at their off-site roasting facility, customers can expect a wide variety of food options (made in their off-site kitchen), plus beer, wine and cider.
Dustin did some major remodeling earlier this year, and they’re now able to host private parties and huge community-wide events, like their popular Oktoberfest celebration, complete with locally-made bratwurst.
“This site has always been a business, starting off as a corner store and then a deli before the Quasts bought it,” Dustin said. “And now that the Beanery is gone, we are the longest-standing coffee shop in town.”
For more info, call 541-488-5902. You can also see them at AshlandCoffee.com and on Facebook and Instagram.