We caught up with Bill Miller, the Dayton native and founder of online coffee and tea retailer Grind House Coffee and Tea Co., to find out more about him and his company. Miller lives in Franklin, and his roasting and packing facility is located in Fairfield.
How did your business get its start?
Grind House Coffee and Tea Co. has always been a dream of mine. My family has had a love for coffee and tea that started with my great-grandfather. My mother knew I had always wanted to open a coffee shop and encouraged me to start looking into it. When my mother passed away in 2015, it was my father who told me to get up and follow my dreams. I started Grind House in November of 2015. I literally was sitting in a Starbucks during lunch and asked myself, “What are you waiting for? You could do this with your eyes closed.” Since that day I haven’t looked back.
What the response has been?
In the beginning the response was very slow. I had to build my customer base and conversion rates in order to get the word out. With the help of social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), our customer base has grown. Our customers really like the flavored coffees as well as our loose leaf tea blends, and our merchandise sales are increasing.
Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised in Dayton. The neighborhood I grew up in is Ridgewood Heights but better known as Crown Point, near the VA Hospital. I’m a product of the Dayton Public School system. I attended Miami Chapel Elementary, where I started playing the cello in the third grade. I attend Stivers Junior High and then Colonel White High School for the Arts, class of 1993. After high school, I attended Northern Kentucky University.
How did you get into the coffee and tea business?
My family has always imported beans from other countries. We would experiment mixing different beans together and see what worked and what didn’t. When I was older I learned how to create flavored coffees and how to blend teas.
What your plans are for the company?
My plans for Grind House is to simply grow it into a company that our customers can rely on to serve quality coffees. I want our customers to know that they can expect the same quality coffees that they order online, in our coffee shops, which are coming soon!
I want to open a chain of coffee shops in the Dayton area and then expand to the Columbus and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky markets. Eventually, I’d like to expand to the East Coast — but that’s the 10 year plan!
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Who are your customers?
My customers are from all over the United States, and I do get the occasional international order. I’ve gained a lot of attention in the Online Coffee Clubs and Groups, friends of mine on Facebook and Instagram, family and word of mouth. I’ve done a lot of farmers markets and craft shows in the Cincinnati area in the past couple of months.
Where do you ship?
I ship anywhere the U.S. Postal Service will deliver. And I only use the USPS.
Is it all direct to consumer?
Everything is shipped from our roasting facility directly to the customer to ensure their coffee is FRESH!
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Do you sell to restaurants and other retailers?
In the past I’ve tried to get into some local restaurants but failed because they have contracts with their food supplier. There are some local Hair Salons in Englewood and Miamisburg and Centerville that serve Grind House coffee as well as a Boutique in Miamisburg. But our main focus is our online sales and opening up the first coffee shop in Dayton, Ohio. We are looking at multiple spaces in the Oregon District, Downtown Dayton, Miamisburg, Centerville, Springboro, Franklin and Middletown.
Tell me more about your coffees and why they’re worth seeking out.
I think we offer an eclectic selection of single origin coffees from almost every part of the globe. There are people out there that never realized that you could flavor coffee beans with chocolates and vanilla’s and bourbon! My goal is to fill the room with the delicious aroma of the flavored coffee once you open the first bag.
For more information, check out www.grindhousecoffeeandteacompany.com.