Virgin Hill onwards and upwards

Virgin Hill Coffee Roasters has just relocated from a 5,000 square foot space in Waterloo to a 15,000 square foot space at 770 Lakeside in Foster, across the road from Scotyz.

From a tiny beginning, 12 years ago, in the garage of Matt Greer’s father, Virgin Hill is today, a household name. We met with Tara Moar to find out how they have achieved this success and to discover their plans for the future.

“Better Coffee All Around” is their motto. Matt’s big idea was to offer a much higher quality coffee than was usual in a rural area. The better quality comes from small batch, artisanal roasting. The “All Around” feature comes from how Virgin Hill partnered with many local cafés and restaurants. Virgin Hill supplies not just the coffee but also all the coffee-making machines and supplies. In practice, this means that if the coffee machine breaks down at the Star Café at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, Matt will be there, with a new machine, within the hour.

With so many people trying out Virgin Hill coffee in their favourite cafés, it did not take long for them to want to drink Virgin Hill coffee in their homes. To serve this demand, Virgin Hill sells beans, ground and K Cups through cafés, supermarkets and directly online. The new premises will allow Virgin Hill to expand all of these lines of business. Virgin Hill will also expand its role in supporting our community.

Today, the Airstream Trailer is a critical element in many community events such as Shakespeare in the Park, Canada Day and Brome Fair. Virgin Hill will step up this community support work. They plan to increase their partnerships with local small businesses such as Robin Badger, who makes a special Virgin Hill blue mug, or Danny and Lucy at Brome Lake Books where you can buy a “Gamache Blend” coffee. A dollar from each sale goes to the Yamaska Literacy Council.

The big new step for Virgin Hill is to partner with members of the community. At the new space, this spring, they will open a tasting café where customers can design their own brew. Upstairs will be a studio where there will be barista training so that people can learn how to make better coffee. On the coffee quality front, Chef Stu Falardeau has joined Virgin Hill to take charge of roasting. He was recently the chef at the restaurant Le Relais.