Having expanded to Texas-sized proportions over the past 13 years, San Antonio-born Merit Coffee has entered some well-earned new territory.
The roasting and retail coffee company has just moved its production line, quality control center and headquarters into a freshly remodeled 9,000-square-foot space on San Antonio’s north side.
Inside a 55-year-old midcentury modern building acquired by the company in early 2020, Merit’s Probat P25 roaster, Probat G45 Retro roaster and related production equipment now spread out over roughly 5,400 square feet.
The new location also houses facilities for employee and wholesale training, plus Merit’s administrative offices.
Founded by Robby Grubbs, Bill Ellis and Javier Lobo, Merit Coffee first earned its stripes as a multiroaster cafe in 2009 under the name Local Coffee. In 2018, the Local Coffee retail brand and sibling roasting brand Merit Roasting Co. began to unify under the Merit name, and growth has been swift ever since.
Currently, Merit operates 10 retail cafe locations, four of which opened in 2019, including two each in Austin and Dallas. In 2020, Ellis and Lobo purchased all assets of the company, with Ellis assuming the role of CEO, and later that year they purchased the Northside San Antonio building that now stands as home base.
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Christian Rotsko, who has led sourcing and roasting programs for numerous specialty coffee companies for more than 15 years, joined Merit as director of green coffee in February. Kim Balzen oversees roasting operations, which is currently made possible through the work of Jacob Gregoire, Zadik Rivera and Jacob Raley.
CEO Bill Ellis told DCN that the first production roasts in the new facility hit cooling trays in February. The 11th Merit coffee shop is slated to open in the Preston Forest Shopping Center in Dallas later this year, with plans underway for multiple additional openings.
“Once settled into our new home, Merit’s attention turns fully to growth in each of Texas’ major markets,” Ellis said, noting that additional locations may be coming to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and soon to Houston.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.