Bayfield Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau: Big Water Coffee Roasters becomes a cooperative

Media Contacts:
Name: Kelley Linehan
Title: Marketing & Events Manager,
Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau
Phone: (715) 779-3335
Email address: [email protected]

Name: Jason Reichel
Title: Director of Wholesale Operations,
Big Water Coffee Roasters Cooperative
Phone: (715) 292-5575
Email address: [email protected]

Bayfield, Wis. – Big Water Coffee Roasters in downtown Bayfield has been purchased by a group of its employees and will move forward doing business as an employee-owned cooperative. On March 18, cafe managers, Jim Homann and Joe Defoe, along with director of wholesale operations, Jason Reichel, assumed the business in its entirety from former owners and founders, Danielle and Jon Ewalt. “This is something that we have been working toward since late last year and we very excited to be handing the business over to this team,” said Danielle. “It was very important to us that it remain locally owned and operated, so this is an ideal outcome,” she added.

Big Water Coffee Roasters was initially established as a cafe at its current location, 117 Rittenhouse Ave. in February 2007. In 2008, coffee roasting equipment was purchased in order to roast beans on location. The roaster was upgraded in early 2014, which significantly increased roasting capacity.

Operations at Big Water Coffee Roasters will continue on as usual. “We are expecting a seamless transition. Because we are all familiar with the day-to-day needs of the business, we are absolutely ready to move forward with this new approach,” said Reichel.

“Working with the cooperative model gives us the opportunity to fully engage with other co-ops throughout the midwest. It’s progressive way of doing business while making sure everybody on the team is taken care of,” said Reichel.

Already, the Big Water Coffee Roasters Cooperative has begun working with another local cooperative, the Chequamegon Food Co-op in Ashland, to create a custom blend that will be sold exclusively at the cafe in Bayfield and at the Food Co-op’s location. They expect the blend to be available in early summer.

Along with new owners Homann, DeFoe and Reichel, two employees are currently on ownership track, which will be available to them after one calendar year of employment.