One of Chattanooga's oldest locally-owned coffee roasters has a new owner who is brewing up plans to reopen a Chattz coffee shop early next year.
Lisa Dunny, the owner of the Spill the Beans food truck for the past seven years, has bought the Chattanooga Coffee Co. from company founders Eileen Mason and Evelyn Wheeler. Dunny said she hopes to reopen the Chattz cafe next to the company's roasting facility at 2627 Broad St. "in the next four to six months."
"When Eileen called me and asked if I would be interested in buying the company, I was surprised at first but I figured this would be a great next move for me," Dunny said. "I've always loved their coffee and sold it around town and we're working now to reopen the cafe."
Wheeler said she is encouraged that the business she and Mason tried to build around community will continue under local ownership by another female entrepreneur interested in community and neighborhood events and activities.
Dunny began Spill the Beans selling coffee outside of Coolidge Park and she bought her food truck in 2015 to begin serving the Chattanooga Market on Sunday and other events at Finley Stadium along with numerous special events.
"Now we're getting calls to come to apartment buildings, neighborhoods, and all kinds of events," Dunny said.
Dunny's Spill the Beans truck is among about 40 wholesale clients served by the Chattanooga Coffee Co., including the local Whole Foods store, several offices and numerous restaurants, including St. John's, the Public House and Canyon Grill, among others.
Mason said Chattanooga Coffee roasts high-quality beans in small batches and cycles out inventory every three days "so we provide the freshest coffee possible."
Mason and Wheeler started Chattanooga Coffee Co. in 2002 when the travel business they operated booking tours to the Holy Lands in the Middle East was upended by the attacks of 9/11. The two learned the art of coffee roasting and opened their retail coffee shop under the Chattz brand in the iconic flatiron-style Southern Express Building, next to the popular restaurant and bar The Pickle Barrel.
The store was supplied with coffee roasted nearby at the Chattanooga Coffee Co.'s roasting facility in the King Street warehouse building which also began supplying other clients. Mason and Wheeler moved the roaster to the current Broad Street facility in 2009 and in March 2010, it opened a new cafe in that facility to accompany the Chattz Coffee shop on Market Street.
The original store ultimately closed in 2018 due to construction work and renovation around its storefront to accommodate the corporate headquarters of Transcard.
Chattz also operated a coffee shop at The Block building in the 200 block of Broad Street downtown from 2014 to 2017 and finally closed its last retail shop in the South Broad district in March 2019.
Mason and Wheeler, who still operate their travel business, say they are looking forward to taking more trips again next year as the pandemic shutdowns ease and travel resumes.
"We're so grateful that the business will go on," Mason said. "It's a Chattanooga tradition."
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340