5 years and going strong … An interview with Todd Foresman, owner of Way Cool Beans Coffee Shop in the Pajama Factory
Who are you and what do you do here?
Iâ€™m a lot of things; a business owner, a coffee roaster, and when I came here I was a caregiver for my mother. So, my mother passed, but Iâ€™m still a caregiver. Thatâ€™s just a part of my personality. Iâ€™m a people person, I LOVE people. Especially here [at the Factory], theyâ€™re so diverse. Having come here and been around such a wide variety of different people, Iâ€™ve become more open-minded toward different lifestyles. I try to work on being non-judgmental, the unlearning is the hardest part.
How long have you been with the Pajama Factory?
In a few short days, itâ€™ll be five years.
Did â€‹you grow up in the area? If not, when and why did you move to this area?
I literally sleep in my childhood bedroom. I live in the house I grew up in, which is three blocks away.
What was your experience with coffee roasting before you opened your establishment?
I worked in a print shop, buying whole bean coffee from the coffee shop up the street, trying to figure out what I was going to do to retire, because the printing industry was changing. The coffee shop down the street that I went to every day was closing, so I decided I would make it myself. I did all the research and figured out how to roast my own coffee. I built my first roaster, and I really had no intentions of opening a coffee shop, but one day it worked. I looked at my brother and said, â€œIâ€™m going to open a coffee shop.â€ And three years later – I was here. I started with a table and a tent and worked at music festivals, anywhere I could set something up. I never thought I had what it took to open my own business, and it definitely takes some discipline, but itâ€™s fun.
Tell me the story of Way Cool Beans. Why did you open, and why did you choose to open here?
The completely honest answer is, I donâ€™t know. I knew there was some stuff over here, and I was just kinda drawn to it. I wanted to be down where the woodshop is, or around the corner. I didnâ€™t know anything about the building. Barb [Andreassen] and Mark [Winkelman] pushed this spot on me, because it had plumbing and gas and had been empty for some time. I actually said no three times until I finally decided to be here. After being here, it became really obvious to me why I wanted to be here. Itâ€™s partly because of the community, partly because people meet here, a lot of things happen in here. Iâ€™m kind of a facilitator, not really by choice, it just kind of happens. Itâ€™s just the energy of the place. For example, there was a lawyer sitting here and also a guy who wanted to start a music festival, but he needed a lawyer. And they just happened to both be here. I live in a constant state of amazement but Iâ€™m never surprised anymore. Itâ€™s amazing, but itâ€™s common. These things happen all the time if you pay attention.
â€‹What core value drives your business?
Getting people together. This is a great place for people to stop and breathe. Everyone is in a hurry, everyone has something to do. Everyone is goal oriented, which isnâ€™t a bad thing, but if youâ€™re so goal-oriented while youâ€™re trying to get there, youâ€™re missing life. Itâ€™s the journey, not the destination. Itâ€™s about the now. Everyone says the same thing to me: â€œThe seats are so comfortable in here.â€
â€‹What do you love most about what you do?
I do it for me. Iâ€™m not working for someone else, [so] it doesnâ€™t feel like work. I donâ€™t feel like I need to retire. I hang out all day. Thatâ€™s what I do for a living. I brew coffee, but for the most part, it almost never feels like work. Since my motherâ€™s passed, my brother comes and has lunch with me every day here so weâ€™ve gotten closer.
What are your hopes for the future of Way Cool Beans?
Actually, I hope to really keep doing what Iâ€™m doing, but more of it. My intentions for the physical part of the shop – Iâ€™d like to do a facelift. Iâ€™ve started some things cosmetically. Iâ€™m working on getting into a few more restaurants. Iâ€™m working on making deliveries. Iâ€™d like to put together a coffee trailer – like a food truck, but for coffee, so I can go to events and hang out. Hiring more employees is a goal in the future as well.
Whatâ€™s your current go-to drink?
Believe it or not, I drink more water than anything. Sumatra is my everyday coffee. Probably my favorite is the Hawaiian Kona, but itâ€™s expensive.Comments Off on 5 years and going strong … An interview with Todd Foresman, owner of Way Cool Beans Coffee Shop in the Pajama Factory