We are a small operation in Russellville, Arkansas whose goal is to make great coffee for great people. (That's you.) One way we're doing that is by throwing some interesting local history into our business model. So, whether you want to know more about Russellville or not- you're going to. Think of it as free conversation starters. You're welcome.
Summary of Roast Origins
Dr. Thomas Russell was the first person to buy a house on what was once the land of Osage and Cherokee Indians. Arkansas Nuclear One is the only Nuclear power plant in Arkansas, and has been since May 21, 1974. The Russellville Depot Station was built around 1910 by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. It is currently home to Main Street Russellville and is full of history you can go look at and read up on. 1870 was the year that Russellville was officially incorporated as a town, and ever since it's been growing into what it is today. 1870 was also the year that the Currier & Ives published The Arkansas Traveler print that became famous. The music sheet on our decaf roast is an excerpt from the Arkansas Traveler song that was once the Arkansas anthem. How does this connect to Russellville? The original painting was done right here in the area!
The rest, they say, is history. Which we will bring to the masses in the form of coffee beans.
Emily Young has always had a bit of a coffee addiction. It has helped her get through all the phases of her life. From opening her design agency, The BrainStorm Agency, in 2014, then opening Dog Ear Books in 2016, then The Garage Arcade in 2018 - she's needed a hefty amount of coffee to get her through the days and nights. With The Garage Arcade opening she acquired Penny University from her friend Sarah. After a few location changes Retro Roasts was born into its current incarnation.
Nikkila Young didn't have much of a choice when it came to owning a coffee shop. It simply came with marrying Emily in 2021. They even got married in the loft at Retro Roasts! Nikkila worked in the coffee shop when it was getting off the ground but has now returned to her first love- babycreep. She makes cute/creepy sculptural collages inspired by organic forms and explores symbiotic tendencies between humans and nature. You'll see her work around the shop - our favorite is the baby bean planters.
In 2019 we began our official roasting journey with a 1kg Mill City Roaster, a little guy, but the perfect size for what we needed. We continued getting our green beans from the amazing folks at Cafe Imports out of Minneapolis and haven't looked back!
Are we picky when it comes to selecting our green beans* for our coffee roasts? That's an affirmative. We only purchase fair trade, organic (FTO) beans from selective countries around the globe: mainly from Guatemala and Columbia. Organic AND delicious? Win/win.
(In the future we plan to expand our offerings.)
FTO means that it has been grown and processed without the use of harmful chemicals and purchased through a coffee trader that has agreed to pay a fair price for the coffee, which covers the costs of sustainable production and living to the farmers. Another win! Our Colombian bean also comes from Women Producers helping support women all over the world. I've officially lost count of how many "wins" that is.