Exploring the frontier of quality coffee in Massillon, Ohio, comes Pioneer Collective Coffee, a 2,000-square-foot coffee shop that pairs modern coffee with a vintage train station aesthetic.
The cafe’s chandeliers and wall sconces, a grand piano, working fireplace, and other vintage elements contribute to a 1920s/1930s depot feel, while low-profile booth seating allows for intimacy combined with uninterrupted views throughout the space. A Modbar under-counter espresso installation gives guests an additional view of the drink-making process.
“I love design, and I am usually enamored by a time period and style of the past at any given moment,” Pioneer Owner and Head Roaster Andrew Keim told DCN.
Keim is also the owner of a sibling business, the Pioneer Coffeehouse in Dalton, Ohio, which opened two years ago with an interior design borrowing elements from the late 19th century.
Opposite the blacks and golds of the new cafe’s seating area is a bright open kitchen with a white tile backdrop, where avocado toasts, bagels, sandwiches are whipped up and locally baked muffins, sweets and more are plated.
An Ikawa Pro sample roaster and a Diedrich IR12 with roast profile automation form the locomotive of the shop’s coffee program. The production area sits in the rear of the space, in full view of guests.
Keim credits his friend Sam LaRobardiere of the Redding, California-based company Theory Coffee Roasters for his counsel in selecting the equipment and then learning the ins and outs of use and maintenance.
Keim said the business is committed to sustainability in part through “Fairtrade or better” pricing for green coffees, while the roastery emphasizes quality and consistency through sourcing, profile development and automation.
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While not a collective in any sense relating to ownership or division of labor, the business name is more an indication of the company’s various “collections,” including its menu of different coffees and the different local businesses with which it collaborates on menu items and ingredients, Keim said.
In time, the company hopes also to add more locations to its collection of physical spaces, with different themes and period motifs.
“We believe the franchise model is boring, and takes the excitement of ‘discovery’ out of the customer experience,” said Keim. “Every Pioneer location will have a different theme or design. Same in quality and service, but each location is a ‘collectable.'”