MiVT: Big Gear Coffee

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) For 10 years he worked with children, running before and after school programs. To keep up with the kids, it probably took a lot of coffee. That man is now in Montpelier roasting his own coffee, named for his favorite hobby.

Ever think about a business idea while driving in Burlington traffic? Paul Dayton did.

"A little van passed me on the highway and it had a coffee roasting logo on the side of it and I said, 'Jeez, I like coffee. I'm looking for something to do. I'll look into it.," Dayton said.

He started with a sample roaster in his yard last July. Now he's got quite a large roaster and his own space in Montpelier.

"I've always been a tinkerer and a builder -- a creative side -- and coffee roasting fits into that, it feeds that passion of mine," Dayton said.

As for the name, Big Gear Coffee, he came up with that while mountain biking. It's a hobby he's had since moving to Vermont in the mid 80's.

"It's something that would make me stand apart -- besides from roasting good coffee -- that I might appeal to the Mountain biking community," he said.

Which is why Big Gear Coffee can be found in bike shops like Bicycle Express in Waterbury.

"The same people that are following his coffee and loving it are also coming here to the store, so it kind of adds value to our store and adds value to his coffee. So, together, we can work together as two Vermont brands and kind of help each other out," said the shop's Noah Tautfest.

Dayton roasts about two to three times a week. On this day, he's roasting 7.5 pounds of his Uphill Grind. It's for two clients in Vermont -- one in Calais and the other in Winooski.

"To tell you the truth, the roasting has become the easiest part of the business. It's hustling and staying on top of things and trying to get accounts," Dayton said.

Dayton has seven different roasts. It's about $12.99 for a 12-ounce bag. You can buy it online or at one of 14 retail locations.

Who knows, maybe while you're in the car on the way to picking some up, you can come up with a business idea just like Paul Dayton.