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West Side coffee shop wasn’t planned, but was meant to be

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Jonathan Hutchins greats customers on May 12, opening day for William & Sons. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Jonathan Hutchins hadn’t planned to open a coffee shop in New Hampshire, and definitely hadn’t planned to open one on the city’s West Side.

But from the moment William & Sons Coffee Co. begin doing business at 489 Amory St. May 12, it was clear it was a match made in coffee heaven.

“So far, it’s been nothing but amazing,” Hutchins said. 

Hutchins isn’t new to the coffee business. He opened William & Sons Coffee Co., a boutique roasting company, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, several years ago while he and his wife, Patricia, were living there. The name is a nod to his father, whose legacy inspired the startup, Hutchins said. 

Hutchins eventually took on a business partner, who manages the Brazilian end of the business.

Patricia Hutchins is a full-time Concord school teacher, and also part of the William & Sons Coffee Shop operation. Courtesy Photo

Jonathan and Patricia moved to China in 2019, to carry on the coffee mission, but in 2021, with COVID-19 still an issue, moved to Loudon, which is close family in the area. Coffee was part of the plan no matter where they lived. Patricia is the daughter of Colombian immigrants, and coffee is practically in her DNA. Hutchins is certified as a Q grader, which means he’s licensed to evaluate coffee and roasting operations in relation to industry standards. 

He said they were lucky to find a nice home in Loudon, which has flexible rules for home businesses and was a great spot to set up a roasting operation. As a Q grader, Hutchins also began connecting with the region’s coffee entrepreneurs.

The area has a lot of “really good” coffee roasters and businesses, Hutchins said. There wasn’t a big need for another coffee shop to open in the city, and he didn’t have a plan to add another one. But when Mi Vida Café at the Amory Street site closed, an opportunity opened.

The West Side is just a bridge away from bustling Elm Street, but can seem light-years distant to consumers from the city and beyond. Its committed business community is often overlooked by those who don’t live in the neighborhood.

“If it weren’t for the opportunity, we wouldn’t have chosen this side of town,” Hutchins admitted. 

But that doesn’t mean he and Patricia were adverse to the idea. The pair had lived in cities with millions of people, and both are multi-lingual.

“My wife and I love Manchester, we feel more at home in an international community,” he said. The West Side’s atmosphere, with its Franco American foundation and increasingly diverse population, appealed to them.

The West Side has returned the love.

In the weeks William & Sons has been open, it’s already hosted birthday parties and built a posse of regulars, from people in the neighborhood to commuters from outside of Manchester who drive through the neighborhood on their way to work on the other side of the river.

You can’t miss William & Sons Coffee Co. on Amory Street – it’s the color of roasted coffee beans. Photo/Carol Robidoux

The location, and the connections it’s brought, “is a perfect fit for our mission,” he said.

Connections are the basis of “origin thankfulness,” which isn’t so much a business strategy as a life-guiding core belief.

The circular of origin thankfulness starts with the step of “discover origin,” then moves to extract commodities, design products, deliver services, stage experiences, guide transformations, and closes the circle at rediscovering origin thankfulness.

The mission of William & Sons, as stated on its website, is to serve and support the community by sourcing the best green coffee beans directly from farmers, “roast them with profiling methods and equipment that permit the highest level of control until we discover that perfect flavor our clients desire, while at the same time bringing them back through transformational gratitude experiences throughout the entire value chain from the seed to the cup.”

William & Sons: Coffee on a mission.

Coffee farmers are the foundation of the business, the origin, and Hutchins makes sure that they remain at the center of everything that he does.

“We’re not the stars,” he said of the roasters and brewers most coffee aficionados associate their favorite brew with. “The farmers are.”

The farmers give the love back, just like the customers do at the other end. Before the coffee shop opened, Hutchins got a large FedEx delivery of green coffee beans from his farmer friends in Brazil. They also share William & Sons news on social media, particularly Instagram.

Hutchins is effusive about the mission, but he understands, too, “sometimes someone just wants a cup of coffee.”

William & Sons is a coffee shop for both. The customers who want a “slow brew” and are curious about the origins can sit down at the bar and learn the story. The person who wants to grab a coffee and get back on the road is welcome, too.

“We’re selling coffee, not religion,” Hutchins said with a laugh.

That flexibility goes for the coffee itself. There’s room for the connoisseur who will spend $25 for four ounces of a brew from a gourmet roast, but also for the person who, again, just wants a cup of coffee that tastes good.

William & Sons Coffee Co., new on Amory Street, grew out of owner Jonathan Hutchins’ coffee roasting operation and his “origin thankfulness” business mission. Courtesy Photo

The coffee shop staff includes himself, Patricia, who is also a full-time elementary school teacher in Concord, and two employees. Hutchins said expansion in the future is possible. It could be as simple as increased hours, or more coffee shops. Like the origin of the shop itself, he believes good things will come no matter what they might be.

“It’s been nothing but amazing,” Hutchins said. Even if there was some reason he was forced to close the shop – which there isn’t – it would’ve been a fantastic ride, he said. “It’s only been amazing.”

William & Sons, 489 Amory St., Manchester, is open M-F 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Find more online, order coffee or merch at wsonscoffee.com. Follow them on Facebook here or get an eyeful via their Instagram page.



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About this Contributor

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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