Coffee is more than a recipe…it’s an art form.
Jon Roberts, owner of Crossroads Coffee on 11th and Main, couldn’t agree more. As a latté artist who competed nationally and took third, he’ll tell you, “Slinging coffee is a fantastic way to make a living.”
After running the coffee shop at Mercy Regional Hospital for several years, he came down with COVID and wasn’t able to continue working at the hospital. After several months, he decided it was time to launch his own coffee shop.
He enrolled in the SBDC’s LEADING EDGE program, which helped him create a business plan, structure his business, and more.
“LEADING EDGE gave me the confidence to jump in, even though I hadn’t fully recovered from my bout with COVID,” Jon says.
When it came to selecting a location, he originally planned to open his shop in the Mercado District of Three Springs. But, when he found out that the space in the Crossroads building was available, he simply couldn’t resist.
He’s been the owner of Crossroads Coffee for almost one year, and he absolutely loves being a sole proprietor. “At the hospital, I was the only daytime barista and was making 200+ drinks per day. Here, the pace is slower…it’s like my retirement job.”
So, what makes Crossroads Coffee unique?
“It’s a little footprint but a big coffee shop!” Jon says. “My latté art is the most defining factor. I can draw anything—Mona Lisa, Starry Night—I took third with a portrait of Van Gogh. And, I can copycat any drink from anywhere. Coffee really isn’t as hard as people try to make it.”
In addition, the coffee is all local. In fact, Jon worked directly with Desert Sun Coffee Roasters to fine tune the perfect Italian Roast for both his drip and espresso drinks.
When it comes to the business side of things, he keeps his pricing simple and competitive. “I used to work for a Japanese chef who thought all coins were bad luck. So, now I keep it all even. Coffee is $2, a Chai is $3, and a Latté is $4.”
Recently, Jon obtained a restaurant license, which permits him to make breakfast sandwiches, pastries, or whatever else his heart desires. “It’s a little nefarious…people come into the bank or offices, and the whole lobby smells like cookies,” Jon says with a smile. He has gluten free and vegan options, and everything is house baked.
“I love running my own business. If you are thinking of starting a business, I’d tell you to start working 80 hours per week and get a good grasp of your industry. And, absolutely go check with the SBDC first. Mary Shepherd and Jasper Welch were huge helps for me. They have fantastic insight and resources that they are more than willing to share.”
The best way to learn more about Jon Roberts is to stop by Crossroads Coffee at 1099 Main Avenue. He’s open Monday–Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (If you’re lucky, you might catch him there on a weekend too!) And, bring an idea! He’s always looking for new designs to draw on his lattés.