We are thrilled to bring you this feature with Frank Orman of the Reading Coffee Company in Birdsboro, PA. Frank co-owns and operates Reading Coffee Company (RCC) with his cousin, Kevin, bringing Berks County (and beyond) delicious roasts and coffee products. It doesn’t stop there! RCC also stocks teas and supports other businesses getting set up with their personalized coffee process, start to finish – from beans to equipment and training! They strive to make a difference in the community by supporting charitable causes in Reading and Berks County. When we think about our morning coffee, the local and beloved Reading Coffee Company always comes to mind. Read on to learn more about Frank’s journey into the coffee business, GoggleWorks’ growing partnership with Reading Coffee Company, and the art of the brew.
- Can you explain what your business is?
We roast the finest beans we can find from our worldwide network of coffee growers. We source everything responsibly and fairly from our growers and strive to roast to bring out the unique qualities in every bean. We also source amazing teas for the preeminent experiences in hot beverages. Being a resource for all-things coffee is who we are – from beans to brew, including equipment and training.
- How did you hear about GoggleWorks?
Since I’m not originally from this area, I was seeking out music and arts options in the Greater Reading area and stumbled upon your website. I went down a rabbit hole and started reading about the history, the buildings, the adaptive reuse, the mission, the founders and immediately saw the value in what is happening to promote the arts in Berks County. And, I’m a bit jealous there’s nothing like that where I’m from in Chester County.
- How did you get into the coffee/roasting business? Was it a linear career trajectory? What were your steps to getting to where you are?
I was in non-profit administration for the bulk of my career, along with twenty years as a professional musician. I served a church community as their choir director, organist, and fine arts director. The path to coffee came after a career shift and a desire to utilize the “other” creative side of my brain, embrace entrepreneurship, and become a business owner. The chance to partner with my cousin Kevin was also a defining moment in how I wanted to move forward and build a business with family. It was also very appealing to take over an established business and build it into something the local area could continue to be proud of. The past year of Covid has not been kind to us, but we are holding tight and looking forward to getting back on track.
- Is there a particular goal or milestone you would like to achieve with RCC?
Sure! The ultimate dream, I guess for any coffee company, is that your product becomes the first thing people think about when they wake up in the morning – that comforting smell, brew, and taste to get you moving for the day ahead. Who doesn’t want to be a brand name?
- What was unique about GoggleWorks that drew you to sell your product here?
The artistic vision, the fact that the greater community supports the mission, and the fact that GoggleWorks supports other small businesses and has a long-range vision for the future. Also, the administrative staff I’ve experienced so far is top rate and a joy to work with. Most importantly, we love the fact a community of creators and Pennsylvania vendors are all a part of The New Store and are thrilled to be included.
- What is your favorite part of the business?
Personally, my favorite part is to interact with other business owners and try to help them be as successful as possible as they utilize our products. Coffee is unique in that we lose control over the final outcome of our product – it could be the best coffee in the world when it leaves here – but if it isn’t prepared correctly, well, that’s the end of that great coffee before you even taste it. We love to interact to make sure every brew is optimized to be the best it can be. The interaction with people is important.
- Do you have a favorite coffee or tea that you make?
My favorite coffee is our Dark Sumatra Mandheling – it’s flavorful, with all the normal characteristics of an Indonesian coffee, but with a bit of that dark smokiness that comes from roasting just past second crack. It’s also low in acidity, which is helpful if you drink a lot of anything! Our Peruvian Cajamarca is a close second, and at night, our herbal teas can’t be beat. I go between the Blood Orange and the Chamomile before bed.
- Did you have any fears when opening the business? If so, what were they and how have you coped with, or overcome them?
I think we all have a fear of failure to some degree and the biggest one for us is that we just weren’t going to be able to make the business thrive as it needs to and keep everyone working and employed. We work hard every day to make sure that doesn’t change.
- What’s a piece of advice you would love to give your younger self?
Be who you are and make no apologies for who that person is. Find a passion and stick with it. Oh, and buy lots of real estate.
- What has been your favorite part of working with GoggleWorks so far?
I love that we’re creating a plan to thrive together. No matter the size and scope, working for the betterment of each entity, including the city, is everyone’s goal and it’s needed and appreciated.
- What’s your most memorable achievement in your business so far?
Being able to contribute to the front-line workers during the pandemic was an honor. I think, all totaled, we contributed a few thousand pounds of coffee to a dozen or more medical facilities in the Philadelphia Metro Area, and of course Reading and Berks County. So many people were coming to work as essential personnel on all fronts, and we played a very small part in making sure they stayed caffeinated. We were thrilled to be able to do it.
- Do you have any creative outlets or methods of traditional artistic expression that you turn to?
Playing the piano and organ are a passion and luckily, I still get to have some time at the piano at home, and on Sundays I still play the organ for a church and accompany their choirs and services. I do miss directing my own choir, but all types of choral music are still on my playlist. Being able to sit down at a big pipe organ and just play can satisfy all kinds of creative needs!
- What do you do in times you feel a lack of inspiration/motivation?
Listen to classical music. Take a walk. Find a diversion. Remind myself to take a breather and come back to whatever I’m working on – it will still be there!
Frank’s background in non-profit administration gives him a unique perspective about ways that RCC can serve the community. He has a real focus on relationships with those around him, which allows him to create a genuine connection with any customer that walks through the doors. Frank goes above and beyond to ensure that Reading Coffee Company balances those aspects of the business with a true standard of excellence in the craft and their product. We are so excited to continue to work with Frank and his team and to see what’s in store for the growing coffee company! We have a variety of Reading Coffee Company products stocked in The New Store. Visit The New Store online for select products or visit us in-person at GoggleWorks to browse all of our options and find your perfect Reading Coffee Company blend.