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Nov 26, 2014
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The Scoop: Northwest Coffee Roasting Co. sold to owner of Chronicle Coffee

January 22nd 08:01pm, 2013

Rick Milton, owner of Northwest Coffee Roasting Co., has sold his company to Jason Wilson (pictured), the owner of Chronicle Coffee. Chronicle is located just north of Grand Center at 1235 Blumeyer Ave. The sale, completed in December, includes both the Northwest Coffee roasting operation as well as Northwest Coffee cafes in Clayton and the Central West End.

Milton explained that he sold the business that he founded in 1992 because he will be moving to Durango, Colo. He had attempted to sell Northwest Coffee in 2008, but with the global financial crisis that year, “No one was buying,” he said. Milton expects to leave St. Louis in March, finally joining his family, who carried forth with plans for “a lifestyle change” by relocating to Durango in 2008. Milton does not expect to enter the coffee business in his new town.

Wilson explained that the same roaster will continue roasting at Northwest. While bean profiles will remain the same, Wilson noted that he wants to “build on the legacy that Rick built for us.” Among Wilson’s plans is to broaden bean origins, including venturing into more areas of Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

“In terms of the aesthetics of Northwest Coffee, there’s not much that’s going to change,” continued Wilson. “It might deserve some paint … a few structural things, but the main thing is updating a few things. Over the next couple of weeks, Rick and I will look at that and make a plan without disturbing the integrity and the culture of the business.” The Northwest Coffee cafes will not see a name change.

One thing that will not change is Chronicle Coffee. While that cafe will continue to carry Northwest Coffee’s beans, it will not see a change in name or concept. “We want to have a different brand that is more an urban core,” explained Wilson, who opened the cafe last September with a goal of “providing a community engagement space.” He said, “We want to grow Chronicle in conjunction with Northwest but just a different name. The Clayton store was built to match that neighborhood. [The] Central West End [location] was built to match that neighborhood. Chronicle is also built to match the community where we’re located.”

By Ligaya Figueras

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