Branch Street Coffee Roasters Keeps Local Flavor
CANFIELD, Ohio – Almost everything inside Branch Street Coffee Roasters is locally sourced. From the pastries on the counter to the art on the walls to some of the music playing over the speakers, owner Matthew Campbell’s goal was to get as much of it as he could from the Mahoning Valley.
“We’ve been embraced by the community, which is great to see,” he said Thursday. “One of the best things about coffee is that it’s introduced me to a lot of great people I otherwise wouldn’t have come across.”
Branch Street holds its grand opening today.
During its soft opening of eight weeks, the response from area business and artisans has been good, so good in fact that he’s running out of space to put it all.
“We’ve had a lot of vendors come to us and it’s almost to the point where we have to pick whose products we carry just because we only have so much space,” he said. “There are a lot of creative people, crafty goods and awesome products that we’re proud to showcase.”
While the coffee obviously isn’t grown in the Valley, Campbell roasts the beans in the front window of his shop, 1393 Boardman-Canfield Road. Roasting the coffee beans 15 feet from where it’s brewed is crucial, he said.
“The flavor coming out of a roaster is much more intense and full than what you’ll get if the coffee’s been sitting in a warehouse for even a couple of weeks,” Campbell explained. “After about two days out of the roaster, it hits this peak and after that goes stale pretty quickly and you lose that awesome flavor.”
After 12 years in the medical field, mostly doing CT-nuclear hybrid imaging, Campbell worked as an apprentice who roasted coffee for a year-and-a-half before setting out to open his own shop. It took him about two months to fully master the process and he is constantly tweaking his process at Branch Street Coffee.
“You have to know what kind of flavor you’re trying to achieve, what kind of beans you’re using and how much gas you’ll apply to it, how fast you’ll roast them, what kind of air flow you need,” he explained. “So it’s all those things in part that can create some very distinct differences.”
All pastries sold at Branch Street are “scratch-made” by local bakers, Campbell said as he pointed to the macaroons from BakeMe Treats. BakeMe will open in Poland later this fall.
“We wanted to incorporate something that complemented the coffee. I feel like we have a high-end product and I wanted something that tastes good alongside it,” Campbell said.
Getting customers’ reaction about both the food and drink offered have been one of the shop’s top priorities, barista Kevin Linger said.
“We’re working every day on perfecting the roast, the grind, the taste, the texture and even the scent,” he said. “Any drink that someone wants us to make or we feel that we should be making goes on a list we keep right behind the counter. If those aspects weren’t here, I feel like we wouldn’t be doing half the business we have right now.”
In addition to the food, Branch Street sells candles made by Struthers-based Corals & Clover and albums from the Youngstown “quirk-pop” band, Third Class.
On his walls, Campbell displays work from area artists, giving them a venue to sell some of their art. The first on display is art by Vicki Ricci, who started painting about five months ago, Campbell says.
“She’s never been in a gallery but I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to have it in my store,” he said. “She can sell her goods here and keep 100% of her sales. All we ask is that the artists donate 10% to the Butler Institute [of American Art] so they can work on restoring some of their artwork.”
With the store holding its grand opening today, both Campbell and Linger say the atmosphere developed over the past two months is something that could be singular in Greater Youngstown.
“From my experience as a customer, most of the shops were closer to a chain. Not many were a coffeehouse experience — mainly just Joe Maxx and Pressed were the only ones,” Linger said. “The atmosphere here is a lot more relaxed. It’s less rushed. I can talk to people and get to know the customers.”
And, Campbell remarked, the store will always be community-focused in its offerings.
“This is a community-based store. People from the community are the ones coming in here, so we want them to be surround by things from their community,” he said.
Pictured: Owner Matthew Campbell with baristas Harley Carroll and Kevin Linger.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.