JACKSON TWP – Frank Genovese’s passion for brewing specialty and robustly flavored coffee started with an elaborate java bar at home.

At the onset of the modern coffee shop craze in the 1990s, he had an espresso machine as well.

And he progressively became more interested in the nuances of crafting coffee. “I have more syrup flavors at home than most coffee shops do,” Genovese said.

All subjects related to coffee intrigued him. Roasting beans. Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. Premium coffee. No frills black coffee. 

Genovese’s pursuit of a great cup of Joe led to an impromptu tour of a coffee plantation in Hawaii. Every step of the process fascinated him as he watched coffee beans as they were picked from plants.

“That was very inspirational,” he said.

Now Genovese and his wife, Mary, are sharing his love of coffee with the public by opening the Ohio Roasting Company, a new small-batch specialty roastery at 4870 Frank Ave. NW in Jackson Township.

Building renovations and other work on the site are expected to be finished in May. Ohio Roasting Company will open in June as long as all of the major equipment arrives, the Jackson Township couple said.

Updates will be posted on Ohio Roasting Company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Roasted fresh and bagged on-site

Genovese was out of work when he decided to embark on the new business. He worked in advertising and sales operations for about 20 years.

“My company got bought out, and I had some free time and I was looking for some other jobs,” he said. “And I just decided I wanted to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is open a coffee shop.”

Starting the business has involved extensive research and attending an international coffee show.

“If we don’t know something, we’re finding those who do, so we can get everything we need to open,” Mary Genovese said.

Frank Genovese, 51, will oversee the daily operations of the roastery and coffee bar. Mary Genovese is a nurse who works in pharmaceuticals. She plans to continue her job while also helping with the coffee shop.

She encouraged her husband to seek a new challenge.

“I think when he was looking at different jobs, he was just looking at jobs to take a job for something he had to do,” she recalled.

“I kept telling him, ‘What do you want to do?’,” she said. “Just everything has fallen into place. … We weren’t sure if it would be possible starting (a business) from scratch and everything that goes with it.

“We wanted to create something that we could be proud of,” Mary Genovese added. “Something our kids could be proud of, but hopefully something that will live on for generations – that would be amazing.”

Gelato flavors

And although the coffee trade is competitive, the couple believes their caffeinated offerings, high-end equipment using an immersion brewing technique, a continuously churning gelato machine and plans to feature live acoustic music will make Ohio Roasting Company a success.

The business will specialize in what Frank Genovese calls the “coffee experience.”

Coffees will be featured from around the world, roasted fresh and bagged on-site.

Cold brews, nitro brews, espresso and energy drinks will be on the menu, as well as iced coffee, frozen blended coffee drinks and non-coffee selections.

Also planned are “grab-and-go” foods for breakfast and lunch. Mary Genovese said the shop also would like to offer “quality baked goods.”

Gelato flavors will include vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Pistachio and fruit flavors are other possibilities.

Also planned is affogato, an Italian coffee-based dessert featuring espresso and gelato.

‘A lot of learning’

Finding a site for Ohio Roasting Company took about two years. The Frank Avenue building is roughly 3,000 square feet.

Drive-thru service and online ordering will be offered.

The coffee shop will offer both preordered convenience and the opportunity for customers to enjoy their drinks inside while COVID-19 safety precautions are followed, Frank Genovese said.

The building required significant renovations, the couple said. Projects included a new roof and new air-conditioning system. A coffee bar and other parts of the interior will be customized.

“We made it larger,” Frank Genovese said, including a new patio area in front of the building. 

“We saw this building and had an interest in it well before it came on the market,” he said. “And when it came on the market we jumped on it.”

Future plans include online and supermarket sales of roasted coffee beans. Other aspirations include coffee tastings and workshops, as well as a coffee truck and retail sales.

“There’s going to be a lot of learning at our end but it’s the type of learning that both of us enjoy,” said Frank Genovese, who attended coffee roasting school and has undergone extensive training.

“I think that’s going to be the fun challenge of it just to get the business to run smoothly.”

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]

On Twitter @ebalintREP

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