Brewing up success

Jewell family builds craft coffee business and opportunities for sons

— Daily Freeman-Journal photos by Billie Shelton Loyal Winborn waits to enjoy a freshly brewed coffee made from coffee beans that were roasted and recently ground in his kitchen.

JEWELL — There probably aren’t a lot of kitchens in Hamilton County where you’ll find a coffee bean roaster, but for the Winborn family of Jewell the compact roaster sitting on the kitchen counter is an important part of their new business.

And it represents a step into the future for son Evan, 15.

After several months of planning, securing needed equipment, perfecting their products, and setting up a website, Winborn Brothers Craft Coffee has been selling their products to coffee lovers for a month now.

“We’ve sold just under 50 bags this first month and have already shipped to five states,” said Loyal Winborn, something he sees as an encouraging start for the small business that is for now based in their home.

The business got started as Loyal and his wife, Staci, looked into several options for businesses that would interest son Evan, who is on the autism spectrum. Although he is a student at South Hamilton now, the Winborns looked ahead to when Evan will graduate in four years. “We wanted a job for him that would have value in it, something that would be sustainable,” Winborn explained. “I asked him ‘is this something you want to do for a business?'”

Evan answered that he’d like to give it a try. Now he is involved with tasks like cleaning out the roaster after a batch of beans is done. “Right now he’s big on the delivery, too,” his dad noted with a smile.

The coffee beans are shipped to Jewell from Columbia, South America, and so far the beans are all roasted and ground in the Winborn kitchen. Coffee-loving customers can order from three varieties of coffee: breakfast blend, medium roast, and dark roast. Breakfast blend is the most popular to date. Loyal Winborn said they would like to add an expresso grind and a drip grind, and customers are also interested in a decaf variety. All are sold in 12-ounce, resealable bags.

“Eventually we will stock enough coffee, but now we just grind to order. We want it to be as fresh as possible,” said Loyal.

While most orders come from the company’s website, word- of-mouth advertising has also been a boost to sales. South Hamilton FFA served Winborn Brothers Craft Coffee at recent special activities. Winborn said they will deliver coffee within thirty miles of Jewell.

As for the company name, Evan’s younger brother, Xander, 14 and an eighth-grader at South Hamilton, had something to do with that. He’s part of the new business, too, as he helps grind beans and puts labels on the bags.

The Winborn family is looking to the future as they get their young coffee business established. First they would like to have a factory bag sealer and a higher-end burr grinder. Eventually, “our dream would be to get this out of our kitchen into a building of its own and to have multiple people with disabilities working with Evan at our coffee shop,” said Loyal Winborn, IT director for South Hamilton Schools. Staci Winborn is a special education teacher there. The Winborns have lived in Jewell for four years.

Xander Winborn has a scaled-down version of that dream: “I want the business to grow and help my brother out,” he stated.