Perking up


February 1, 2021

Now entering its second decade, Charlotte’s Magnolia Coffee brews coffee and community. 

by Cathy Martin

Jay Gestwicki has worked around coffee for most of his adult life, first as a barista, then through his work with national and regional coffee chains. He started Magnolia Coffee in 2010 after witnessing the momentum of other artisan culinary trends. “The craft-beer industry was beginning to take off in Charlotte, and the culinary scene was growing, so I saw the market ripe for higher-quality coffees. I wanted to build a brand known for great quality but also known for helping build great community.” Magnolia’s small-batch coffee is sold at Whole Foods stores and specialty shops such as Common Market, Rhino Market and Mugs Coffee, and through its website. In May, Coffee Review listed its signature Magnolia Blend — a medium roast with dark chocolate and cherry notes — among the top 15 coffees to drink when you are stuck at home. 

Comments were edited for length and clarity.

How has business changed over the last year?

We had to adjust immediately since so many consumers are not leaving their homes regularly. So, we added new sizes, no-contract subscriptions, seven-day-a-week local delivery and same-day shipping, and [we] entered the retail bottled coffee market — our Jade Nitro Cold Brew rated among the best ready-to-drink cold coffees in the nation (Coffee Review, July 2020). I’m proud to say online sales were up almost 200% since before the pandemic. People are really responding to our quality and service.

What’s the delivery range? 

We offer home delivery within 10 miles of center city as well as nationwide shipping. I’m delivering daily to the SouthPark, Dilworth, NoDa and South End neighborhoods. There’s a growing population who want to buy local, artisan products for home delivery. People really want to support local small businesses, but it needs to be convenient. We’ve made it easy on them with delivery to their door.

What’s ahead in 2021?

The challenge for any small business is brand awareness and getting the product to people conveniently. We’ve made it very convenient, so the focus is on getting consumers to try us for the first time. SP

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