As KC’s Roasterie turns 25, founder O’Neill reflects on roots, future

The Roasterie hosted a 25th anniversary event on Saturday, providing the Kansas City coffee company a chance to celebrate a quarter century in business. The Roasterie now has nine locations and has built a popular local brand.

That’s a far cry from the beginning, when Danny O’Neill, the Roasterie’s founder and “Bean Baron,” took a leave of absence from a corporate job in 1993 to start roasting coffee in his basement.

“The only idea I had was coffee,” O’Neill recalled.

O’Neill said he made things work on a shoestring budget.

“I have $17,000 saved up, and I spent [most of] that on a roaster, about $1,000 on my basement to put the roaster there and then I have about $3,500 left and I spent $2,500 on our logo,” O’Neill recalled. “So I’m down to nickels and pickles and no income — but, I’m knocking on doors all day, every day.”

Today, the Roasterie is on far more solid ground, and a coffee scene has sprung up around it in Kansas City. O’Neill said he welcomes the newcomers.

“The more entrepreneurs we have,” he said, “the better.”

Read more: Startland News


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