BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – A new café and coffee roastery called Rockingham Roasters, located on The Square in Bellows Falls, recently opened its doors for business. Owned and operated by Jennifer Gurley, the cafe is located at 3 Rockingham Street.
The space was previously occupied by the internet provider, Sovernet, before Jennifer purchased the historic building, built in 1890, three years ago. “She originally thought the renovation process would take around six months to a year to complete,” said Jennifer’s husband, Scott. Scott was on hand to lend moral support the morning of the grand opening.
The restoration process of this landmark structure was extensive, including repointing and restoring the foundation, putting on a new roof, and gutting the building interior in 2018. The following year, new plumbing, electrical, and sprinkler and heating systems were installed and the interior structure was reinforced. Jennifer also restored the basement, rebuilt the window trims, and installed new, historically appropriate windows and doors.
In early 2020, before the pandemic struck, Jennifer worked on creating the new café and roastery space. Eventually, she and Scott will together finish the two-story loft apartment above the café.
When the pandemic hit, however, Jennifer lost 80% of her business in wholesale restaurant accounts almost literally overnight, and had to work very hard to build more retail grocery accounts and grow the online sales of her coffee to save her business.
Finally, the dream and hard work became reality this past weekend as Rockingham Roasters opened their doors to the public, and the reception from the community and other local businesses was tremendous.
Rockingham Roasters offer a variety of premium, medium, and dark roasted Italian-style coffees in one-pound bags including: “Working Joe Everyday” dark roast, “Indian Monsoon Malibar” medium golden roast, “Vilas Bridge Blend” medium-dark roast, “You Asked For It” extra dark roast, “Chicory Coffee” medium-dark roast, and an “Actually Good Decaf” medium roast.
The Rockingham Roasters café menu is appetizing and growing, offering a variety of drinks using their premium coffees, as well as a variety of artisan teas and seltzers. Of course, one-pound bags of all their flavors are also available.
Baguette breakfast sandwiches are available, as well as croissants and Montreal bagels, with most ingredients coming from local producers such as Gilles Baguettes, Livewater Farm, Lucy’s Organic Pastries, and North Country Smokehouse. Sweet items on the menu include chocolate croissants, croissants with rose petal jam, and a variety of Greek-style yogurt. Future items coming to the menu will include veggies, smoothies, and homemade pies.
“It has been a lot of work getting here, but the grand opening was a huge success,” Jennifer said. “I have loyal customers all over New England and nationwide, and many more will be coming to visit Bellows Falls once we are a bit more ahead of Covid.
“I want to thank everyone for their support during these challenging times,” Jennifer concluded. “My fantastic and loyal customers have truly saved my business and this enormous business project I have taken on.”
Currently, Rockingham Roasters’ limited hours are Thursday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, the hours will soon be expanding as the operational kinks are smoothed out and more employees are brought on board. For more information, and to order Rockingham Roasters’ premium coffees, please visit www.rockinghamroasters.coffee.