Fair trade coffee shop opens in Maggie
It was this year's long, cold and dreary winter months that inspired Maggie resident Justin Phillips to open up a new coffee shop — something he hopes will fill a void in the valley when winter comes back around.
"Last winter seemed to go on forever," he said. "People kept telling me to go out and get coffee, but I really only liked my coffee."
For the past 10 years, Phillips has only drank Larry's Beans, a company based in Raleigh that sells 100 percent fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee. So when he thought of opening a business to give Maggie residents something to do in the winter, he immediately knew he wanted to sell his favorite coffee.
Phillips is no stranger to the entrepreneur world — he's owned a successful marketing firm spanning multiple states for several years now. The Florida native lived and worked in Asheville, then back home in Jacksonville, Florida, before settling down in Maggie Valley three years ago.
His coffee shop, Organic Beans Coffee, located at 3676 Soco Road, beside Subway, opened Aug. 5 and has already garnered high reviews online.
Phillips fills his coffee shop with good vibes and products that he believes are good for the body. Nearly everything in the shop, from the baked goods to the green teas, are organic. Even his bottled water is specially produced with non-leaching plastic.
Customers can buy Larry's Beans whole bean coffee or choose a specialty drink from the chalkboard menu. When it comes to food, he throws in all-organic ingredients to make orange cranberry walnut bread and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, just to name a few.
Along with coffee beans, Phillips also sells Larry’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, 16 ounces of 24-hour cold steeped, full-bodied coffee in a jar. It can be used to make iced or hot coffee by pouring two parts water to every one-part concentrate.
"It's not bitter. Even the darkest roast coffees don't leave a bitter taste in your mouth," Phillips said.
Two customers who passed through the coffee shop last week said he offered the best espresso they had ever tasted, he said.
He hopes people come in and take advantage of the comfortable seating, free wi-fi and of course, find their favorite coffee flavors. More than anything, he wants Organic Beans Coffee to be a mainstay in Maggie.