By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography by Aaron Patton
Andrew Gough owns one of the most popular coffee shops in Wichita – one that’s frequented by food celebrity Alton Brown whenever he’s in town – and a wholesale coffee roasting business. But don’t expect him to whip up a macchiato with a pretty white design floating on the top or show how to roast the beans.
His role at Reverie Coffee Roasters has been to provide leadership and opportunities for his employees to excel at their jobs.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to my role,” said Gough – and he gives a lot of credit for the success of the business to his employees.
“I have 25 employees who are all part of this in some fashion,” he said.
In just under five years, Reverie has established itself as a premier coffee shop for Wichitans and others to meet at and soak in some of the energy transforming the city and the Douglas Design District. The reputation of its quality roasted coffees has led to several of its wholesale customers happily promoting that they serve Reverie-roasted coffee.
Last year, Reverie won a bronze medal in the Golden Bean North America Roaster Competition that drew more than 700 competitors. In 2017, it was named an Emerging Business of the Year by the Kansas Small Business Development Center and it was a top 10 finalist for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Awards.
Now a new, larger space will give Gough and his employees an opportunity to expand the business. By the end of the year, Reverie Coffee Roasters is expected to open its much-anticipated location across from Wichita East High School on Douglas Avenue.
Gough has already located his administrative offices into the farthest east portion of the new space. This summer, he opened a new venue space called Lyceum, which can accommodate up to 75 people. When the venue isn’t rented, it serves as a training and gathering space for Reverie’s employees. The Lyceum space is sandwiched between Reverie’s offices and what will be the coffee shop’s new bakery and restaurant, located on the corner of Douglas and Madison, at 2202 E. Douglas.
Founders Bakery, overseen by executive chef Stephanie Hand, will sell items to enjoy on site or to take home. The coffee roasting portion of the business, led by head roaster Beau Harris, will operate out of a stand-alone building behind Founders/Reverie. In early 2018, Reverie will roll out a breakfast and lunch menu and include wine, beer and cocktails among its beverages.
With south-facing storefront windows, the new store will be filled with lots of natural light and plenty of character with 1920s vintage tin ceilings, colored concrete floors and a large, wooden bar. The espresso and bakery work surfaces will be custom-made rolled steel, while customers will dine and drink at handmade wood tabletops.
The new location also will provide more parking and a large patio space.
By December, Gough will also open a coffee shop in the lower level of the Garvey Center, a commercial and residential high-rise building at 250 W. Douglas in downtown Wichita.
Gough’s holdings also include Principal Coffee Equipment Solutions, which sells equipment ranging from commercial brewers to espresso machines to grinders and provides service solutions for Reverie’s wholesale roasted coffee customers.
“We’ve grown this company only because of our people,” he said, as he started listing titles and names of some of his employees. With the expansion of Reverie, Gough estimates that his workforce will almost double.
Gough and his wife, Katie, who recently left her job with USD 259 Wichita to work for the company full time, opened Reverie in 2013 at 2611 E. Douglas. Their focus was to provide specialty-grade coffees and good experiences to its customers, and roast coffee not only for their own business, but for other coffee shops, restaurants, businesses and even churches.
Rather than relying on trends and research done by others in the industry, Gough’s team does its own research and development to ensure Reverie provides quality products. That also helps Reverie differentiate itself from others in the coffee industry.
With a background in the financial services industry, Gough has solid business acumen. He understands the value of creating and executing a business plan, of developing core values to help employees understand expectations, of creating a mission and a vision for each of part of Reverie’s operations and how to measure success.
Courtesy is at the core of the cafe’s mission and at the top of the list of Reverie’s 10 core values, Gough noted.
“Making people happier when they leave than when they walked in is a priority,” Gough said.