North River Roasters is a new coffee roaster located in the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory. Feza Oktay, the owner, has said his stated goal is to revitalize the downtown. The company aims to provide high quality coffee and living wage jobs for its employees.
"We want to be one of many reasons to make a trip to Main Street so that we begin to see more people on the sidewalks and people coming downtown for all it has to offer," Oktay said.
Oktay said the company is using organic fair trade beans and working with the Rain Forest Alliance.
"We can be certain that the coffee farmers are receiving fair wages and that the farming is being done in a responsible and sustainable way," Oktay said.
Oktay said he is hoping to give jobs to people in the community like the homeless and youths.
"We are eventually going to convert the business into worker owned co-op," Oktay said. "That's part of the vision, we are planning and hoping for this to be a real community centered operation."
Oktay, whose daughter works as a barista said he has enjoyed brewing and roasting the coffee.
"We're getting people to try out different things," Oktay said.
North River Roasters is offering a membership program that will allow its members to come and take home a bag of coffee and interact with other members. Oktay said there is no secret to a good cup of coffee.
"We're all about what tastes good to that individual," Oktay said. "We're not going to come in on our high horse and say this is the perfect cup. We're trying to achieve a good quality cup that fits in with someone's taste. Everyone's tastes are different."
Using his business for social enterprise means a lot to someone like Oktay, who has worked in non-profits.
"We want to help make a difference however we can," Oktay said. "Every little bit helps. We want to engage our youth and help people further along in life. We want to make Poughkeepsie a vibrant center. We want to make people realize Poughkeepsie has a lot to offer."
For more information, visit http://northriverroasters.com/
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