Mom, coffee-shop owner, wholesaler: Meet our Daytonian of the Week

Audria Maki started roasting coffee beans five years ago primarily because she had always loved a good cup of coffee.

"At that time, I was a stay-at-home mom with three little boys under 5 years old," said Maki, the founder of Reza's Roast coffee roastery. "It was very much a side hustle at first, with me dragging the kids with me.  But I am good at sales and pretty driven, and within a couple of years it had turned into a full-time job."

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Maki went on to open — after a lengthy build-out — the inviting Reza’s Downtown coffee shop at 438 Wayne Ave. in Dayton’s Oregon District. And she is our Daytonian of the Week. Here’s more about her and her coffee shop, in her own words.

How did Reza’s Downtown coffee shop come about?

There is a ton of competition in coffee and I needed more brand recognition for Reza’s Roast. I had operated the Blend Express at the University of Dayton when I was in college and knew a coffee shop could be a great sales room for the wholesale business. My brother-in-law and husband fell in love with the building on Wayne Ave. and purchased it.

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It took two years, but we managed to bring it up to code and opened Reza’s Downtown last June. I was there in my Carharts every day. It was definitely a big learning curve and not something I want to do again anytime soon.

What’s a typical work day for you?

My brain works better in the morning. I’m up at 5 a.m. (often earlier) and open the cafe at 7 a.m. I really enjoy the first couple of hours of the day, when I can be barista and interact with our customers. I’m also still very much fine tuning everything operationally. I use this time for that.

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From there it’s paying people, answering emails, solving problems, roasting, packaging, delivering, sales calls — really every day is different. I still pick my kids up from school every day and make sure homework gets done. I am thankful every day that I have the flexibility to do this. Then dinner and bedtime — with me not far behind the kids.

Why you decided to settle in the Dayton area?

I was born here and am very close with my family. It has never occurred to me to even want to leave.

What’s been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?

A lot of the challenge in the past year has been in managing people. I think we have a really great group of baristas and I am always thinking about ways to be the best kind of employer I can. Treating people with respect and recognizing them as assets is so important. I am really grateful to my mentors who have been able to counsel me through each challenge that I encounter.

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What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area?

Putting me on the spot! We have SO many awesome places. I think though for me finding an authentic from-scratch spot is the best, so … shout out to La Colombiana Restaurante in Beavercreek!

What’s your guilty pleasure – recognizing, of course, that you already have pastries, ice cream, coffee, tea and more at your shop?

Sugar-Free Redbull on the way to pick the kids up from school. It's so bad.

What inspires you about the Dayton area?

This is my hometown. I’m so proud of Dayton. Because of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, we are very much a community of people coming and going. I love that spirit of welcoming you find here. People are so open and ready to share what we have with someone new. It’s inspiring.

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