I visited Bailiwicks Coffee Company in downtown Tiffin for the first time last month to really enjoy it, meeting a number of people to talk over community branding strategy. I had had a cup of coffee at the relatively new business (opened March 13, 2012) owned by Jess and Travis Williams when I first visited Tiffin, but this time–during a cold winter’s morning–I got to settle in for a long winter’s conversation :)
I’m a coffee fan, but when it comes to coffee shops, I look for three key things: (1) quality of the coffee, (2) furniture, atmosphere, wifi and vibe, and (3) ability to purchase quality food and bags of bean/ground coffee (with fair trade options). Bailiwicks gets high marks from me in all three categories.
First, they get their coffee from Red Rambler Coffees in Wauseon, Ohio, about once per week. Mel and Jo Michelson, who own Red Rambler, have a life long love affair with java, and are serious about quality–they only use Arabica beans and only the top 5% of those. I typically drink my coffee black, as I like to taste it, and it delivered. Enjoyed about 4 cups over the course of a couple hours. Fabulous.
Once the coffee is good, do I want to spend some time at the shop. Bailiwicks is this great mix of college energy (a great hangout for students from Heidelberg–it’s less than 1/3 mile away from campus–and Tiffin Universities), earthy comfort (love me some cushions on chairs and sofas), but bright and creative (not too dark with art on walls and various rooms/alcoves to go). So, check on the furniture, atmosphere, and vibe–and oh, yes, they have WiFi ( a must.)
I always ask about fair trade, and many of the beans for sale were. They sell 4 oz. bags (bean or ground) for $3.50 and 12 oz. bags at $9.50. They also purvey baked goodies from three local bakers – Almost Yours Bakery, Oh So Sweet Bakery, and Baked Happiness! by Tamara (Republic, Ohio.) When I was there, Baked Happiness! had some snickerdoodles and coffee cake, Oh So Sweet had buckeyes and butter cookies, and Almost Yours had a plethora of scones (Chai, Maple Walnut, Cherry Almond). Had already eaten, so it’s on my list of things to do to sample (as well as visiting these local businesses).
Bailiwicks has also had a lot of positive press the past couple years, as part of the new downtown revitalization that’s going on Tiffin. Two great features were the March 2013 Advertiser-Tribune article “Downtown Tiffin has it going on” and the Sept. 2013 A-T article “Tiffin Business Activity Picking Up.” They also won (deservedly so) the 2013 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award by the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC – my organization).
Bottom line – great coffee, great conversation, great atmosphere, great business…in a downtown that’s becoming great. Definitely a Seneca Success story :)