Great Basin Coffee Company’s (GBCC) Roastery is located in South Provo on historic U.S Route 89. Tucked away within an industrial complex, their unsuspecting location is where owners Alex Kopelson and Michael Cunnif roast coffee, play with friends and concoct new products that are meaningful to them and their community. Visitors are always welcome into their shop to drink coffee and talk about life.
Roasting specialty coffee is their foundation and they source great coffees from their friends at Coffee Co-Mission and then roast it on our Diedrich IR-12 where they put methodical love and attention into each small batch. GBCC has a handful of awesome products ranging from roasted coffee, cold-brewed coffee, Great Basin Coffee themed merchandise and their favorite coffee gear. They also love collaborating with other local companies to make other bomb products like buzz bean brownies, espresso yogurt, and even honey kombucha. For everything mentioned above and more, Great Basin Coffee Company is our November Small Business of the month! Keep reading to learn more:
UMLF: Tell us about yourself and your background? How did you get into coffee?
Alex: Both Mike and I were wildland firefighters working for the state of Utah on a hotshot crew. We always loved drinking coffee as it kept us going. We wanted to start a business together and after learning more about the coffee industry fell in love with it and decided to start roasting. It has been 3 years now and it has been a rollercoaster!
UMLF: What inspired you to start Great Basin Coffee?
Alex: We wanted to start Great Basin coffee to control our destiny, make something incredible, and give back to people and the environment. We wanted to share a product that we love with the people in our lives and with others that have the same goals as we do. Coffee is motivating. It is connecting.
UMLF: How did you come up with the name?
Alex: We have played and worked in the Great Basin region for a long time. It is a region that is meaningful to us because it gives you a sense of adventure and being in the outdoors. That’s what the brand means to us.
UMLF: You have AMAZING package art, can you tell us more about your designs?
Alex: We are inspired by nature and historical design from the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) era. The old work projects commissioned at this time were timeless and beautiful and really captured the beauty of the great American outdoors. We work with Chris Draney a graphic designer to design and implement all these labels. We named each coffee after a place, tree, or country of origin and made a label to match.
UMLF: What are some of your favorite blends and recommended preparations?
Alex: We love single origin coffees but we also love blends. Coffee is a seasonal product so blends help us maintain a consistent flavor profile year round. We make coffee every way imaginable depending on the situation. We currently love our espresso machine and make a lot of dairy-free drinks using our Lone Peak Espresso, our flagship espresso blend.
UMLF: Every business has its highs and lows. Tell us about a challenge you faced as a small business owner and how you overcame it?
Alex: There are too many to recount a specific one haha. Having no prior business ownership experience, it has been a huge learning curve. We have made a lot of mistakes but we have overcome them this far by continuing to work and improve as we go. There isn’t a one size fits all solution to any problem. It takes dedication and passion to keep working through your mistakes.
UMLF: How do you believe the Utah Microloan Fund has helped your business?
Alex: The UMLF has helped our business immensely. Just by building our application and applying for the loan we learned so much about our finances and business needs. We also worked with SCORE to prepare for the loan application and committee review. With the funds we received we were able to improve upon our processes and start marketing to grow our business. We love the UMLF!
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Providing business training and funding to entrepreneurs in start-up & existing businesses that do not qualify for traditional funding sources.