The Denison Development Alliance recently approved a small incentive that will a a locally-roasted coffee company to expand across Texoma.
Last week, the DDA Board of Directors approved an agreement with CJ’s Roastery for the purchase of new coffee bean roaster that will provide product for its three locations and for online sale.
"They’ve always taken pride in doing the roasting and them being able to do it," DDA Vice President William Myers said Monday. " I think the consumers have also responded positively to it."
Currently, CJ’s Coffee Cafe operates two locations, including their flagship Denison Main Street location and a second cafe in Sherman. In late 2019, the chain announced development of a third location in Denison’s Gateway Village in conjunction with Lettuce Indulge.
CJ’s owner Nancy Gentry said the upcoming third location will feature a roastery in the corner of the shop that will be visible to patrons and visitors.
Myers said that CJ’s has been recognized for its roasting in recent years with industry awards, and the new equipment will allow it to increase its production.
Under the terms of the agreement, the DDA will provide 15 percent of the total cost of the equipment and installation. In exchange, CJ’s agrees to operate the roaster for a minimum of one year.
Myers said current estimates for the equipment and installation come in at just under $53,000, making the agreement worth just under $8,000.
"We didn’t put a top end limit to it because they are still in the process of ordering it, so it may change a bit," Myers said.
Myers noted that the equipment is still being purchased, but provided information on a similar model that has a maximum roast capacity of 100 lbs. per hour. Currently, CJ’s has capacity to roast between 10 and 20 lbs. of coffee beans within an hour, Gentry said.
Traditionally, the DDA has been unable to incentivize restaurant development. However, in this capacity the roaster would fall under manufacturing, a purpose the DDA can support with agreements.
This agreement represents one of the first incentives between the DDA and CJs since in came to Denison nearly a decade ago, Myers said. Recently, the coffee chain was one of the businesses to make use of the DDA’s e-commerce incentive grants aimed at helping small businesses develop an online footprint amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This represents one of the smallest agreements that the DDA has approved, however Myers said it is something that the DDA is discussing expanding.
""We are actually going to be be working on a policy on how to handle micro-manufacturing incentives," he said.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.