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Saxbys to build its own coffee roastery in South Philadelphia

With Saxbys' recent hiring of a chief coffee officer, “we’re now turning our attention to the product,” said founder Nick Bayer.

The future Saxbys coffee roastery at 2415 Morris St.
The future Saxbys coffee roastery at 2415 Morris St.Read moreCOURTESY SAXBYS

After more than 13 years, Philadelphia-based coffee chain Saxbys has leased a century-old building in South Philadelphia to house its first roastery.

The coffee used at Saxbys' 26 cafes is now roasted by Dillanos, in Seattle, said Nick Bayer, Saxbys chief executive, who placed the current quantity of green beans at slightly less than a half-million pounds a year.

He said Saxbys' decision to roast its own beans was not driven by quality. It simply is the logical progression of the company’s ethos, which includes community-based initiatives including its Experiential Learning Program, which hires and promote college students.

Saxbys takes great pride in its people-focused corporate culture. “This is like running a marathon,” he said. “It’s our talent that gets you across that finish line.”

With its recent hiring of director of coffee David Amos, formerly chief operating officer of Elixr Coffee and a 20-year industry veteran, “we’re now turning our attention to the product,” Bayer said.

Bayer said the roastery, employing 15 people and accommodating tasting and cupping rooms, should begin operation this spring. The goal is to source and distribute all coffee from the South Philadelphia building by this summer.

The building, at 25th and Morris Streets at the edge of the Point Breeze neighborhood, was for many years an ice house. It is across the street from a warehouse used by Di Bruno’s, the grocery chain.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the company had purchased the building.