Seedhouse’s new owners know value of community and how to make a good cup of joe
The new owners of Seedhouse Coffee understand the value of a good cup of coffee, but they are also hoping to make a difference as they carry on the traditions of the business founded in 2016.
In January, Alyssa and Ryan Stauffer joined Kendra and Chase Lovins in purchasing the small Steamboat Springs-based coffee roasting company from Andy and Kay Leigh Kearns. However, Kendra Lovins said that the deal never really seemed like a business transaction.
“We’ve loved what they offered,” Kendra Lovins said. “When they approached Ryan and Chase about buying the business, it did not feel like a business transaction. It felt like they’re passing something down to us.”
Steamboat Springs native Gates Gooding founded Seedhouse Coffee in 2016 after educating himself about coffee cultivation, processing and the different business models. He also took an interest in the producers’ well-being on coffee farms in Colombia, Nicaragua and Mexico.
Early on, he was joined by Asa Ireland, who became the head roaster, and the two ran the business while mastering the craft of roasting coffee beans. Gates sold the business in 2019 to the Kearns, who were able to keep Seedhouse on track and growing during the pandemic.
Last year, the Kearns offered the business to the new owners. Now, the new owners say the lineage of Seedhouse Coffee has allowed them to step in with a wealth of knowledge, and they feel well supported by those who came before them.
“My on-ramp with Seedhouse was a cold call to Gates after trying their coffee and loving it,” Ryan Stauffer said. “Coffee was a budding hobby, and I wanted to learn more about the roasting process. That led me to begin working with them a few hours a week packaging coffee and learning from Asa and Gates.”
He was struck by the attention to detail in everything from buying green coffee and roasting to packaging and working with customers and partners. The experience also fueled his desire to to learn more and laid the foundation for a new idea.
“Chase and I started working with Andy and Kay Leigh on the Steward Coffee Project,” Ryan Stauffer said. “We wanted to create a single-serve compostable coffee project, and we chose Seedhouse to source the coffee for that project because we love their coffee.”
He said that project brought the couples closer to the Kearns, who reached out to them first when they decided to sell.
“We were surprised when they asked, but immediately felt the hope and excitement of the question,” Chase Lovins said. “After meeting with Kendra and Alyssa, we all were a resonant ‘yes’ for the new adventure that was already in motion.”
That adventure began in January, and the new owners said they plan to carry on the traditions that were started by Gooding and Ireland, expanded by the Kearns and are now in their hands.
“We are very conscious about focusing on quality over quantity,” Alyssa Stauffer said. “We don’t want to get to the point where it’s too much. We want to keep it at a point where we offer good quality and can still give people what they expect of Seedhouse.”
Ryan Stauffer said Seedhouse is currently roasting coffee twice a week at the downtown location in the back of Harwigs. Seedhouse offers four single-origin coffees including Honduras Pactiva, Ethiopia Limu, Guatemala CODECH and Mexico Chiapas, as well as seasonal and espresso blends.
Seedhouse Coffee specializes in organic, single-origin, ethically sourced, flavorful coffees. The company selects beans based on flavor profiles — sweet, fruity, bright, and earthy — and sourced from producers around the world. The owners of Seedhouse are passionate about caring for the Steamboat Springs community, but also the vulnerable communities around the world.
“We give a percentage of profits toward people, projects and initiatives that are making a difference and contributing to positive transformation in our own community and around the world,” said Kendra Lovins, who has worked in peacemaking and reconciliation work in conflict regions through Building Leaders 4 Peace.
“We believe in leveraging everything we have at Seedhouse for bettering our world,” she continued. “We are serious about cultivating sustainable supplier relationships, holistic community development and engaging in non-exploitative practices often paying above fair-trade prices.”
The ownership group is also hoping to purchase beans from farmers in conflict zones with the goal of building relationships that offer more stability.
Seedhouse Coffee can be found ready to drink at Off the Beaten Path and The Collective. Seedhouse Coffee is also available at the Wild Plum, the Homesteader and Gondola General and Natural Grocers locations in Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs and across the Front Range.
The company’s coffee is also being used in Bar-U-Eat, as well as in the Steward Single Serve Coffee Packs (Mexico Nayarit), which is packaged in commercially compostable packaging.
“We love coffee, and we love this community,” Kendra Lovins said. “We are eager to see how we can collaborate with other small businesses, nonprofits and friends to continue building and supporting our local community that we love.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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Agriculture, employee retention and diversity will share the spotlight at the 28th annual Economic Summit on Friday, May 20.