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City coffee roastery using custom bike to make deliveries

Jul 24, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The family-owned business uses the machine to bring customers bags of roasted beans.

Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery has an eye-catching new promotional device that doubles as an expansion of their service: a coffee delivery bike.

Co-owner and roaster Aaron Justice uses the bright orange machine to bring customers bags of roasted coffee. He delivers anywhere in town for an extra 99 cents.

"People call and they want delivery, he hops on the bike and takes it to them," said Mary Justice, Aaron's mother and a co-owner of Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery.

Aaron's wife, April, and father, Norval, also are co-owners of the business.

So far, few of their customers know about the bike and ask for deliveries, Aaron said, but he makes a few trips each week.

The company is not delivering coffee drinks, however.

Aaron said he tried to deliver drinks a few times, but bumps in the road makes carrying them by bicycle impossible without spilling.

The family-owned coffee shop and roastery ordered the custom-built bike from Republic Bike and received it in May.

Bike-related businesses are expanding across the country, from tricycle taxis to pedal pubs, but the growth in the pedal-powered economy was not a major factor in the Justices' decision to buy the bike.

"It's just, what do we have that other places in town don't?" Justice said. "We have fresh roasted, organic, fair trade beans and we deliver them. It's our differentiation."

His mother agreed.

"It's unique. Nobody else around here has one," she said.

The bike is bright orange and has a cargo rack on the front. The rack can carry 50 pounds of weight and has a corrugated plastic tote on the front.

The bike has a sign built-in with the name Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery on it and on the tote up front to help advertise.

The Justices have used it for promotional purposes, including having Aaron ride it in the Lander Fourth of July Parade to hand out chocolate covered coffee beans.

The bike has a 20-inch wheel on the front, the size used in some child bikes, to make space for the cargo rack. The rear wheel is a mountain-bike standard of 26 inches.

It has three speeds provided by a Shimano Nexus internally geared rear hub, which includes a coaster brake, and has a disc brake on the front wheel providing strong stopping power to slow down even a heavily laden bike.

Matching orange fenders, a red bell, blue tires and a faux leather seat add to the charm.

All those bright colors have turned some heads when Aaron rides it.

"He rode it past one of the schools, and it happened to be at recess time. All the kids, they said, 'Oh wow, what a cool bike,'" Mary said.

The aluminum frame and steel fork add up to about 35 pounds, which is heavy for a bike. Aaron, however, said he is an avid triathlete, and he enjoys the chances to ride it.

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