There’s a business opportunity brewing for those who enjoy the daily grind.
Hilo Coffee Mill is up for sale. Hilo Brokers has the 23.86-acre property in Mountain View — complete with coffee farm, roasting facilities, certified kitchen, café and espresso bar, and retail shop with freshly roasted beans, all along one of the state’s busiest highways — listed at $1.495 million.
Owners Jeanette Baysa and Katherine Patton, both former bankers, started the “farm to cup” operation in 2001.
“We actually started off as roasters first. Then, when we acquired the property in 2003, that’s when we started planting,” Baysa said Tuesday.
The former sugar land has six acres of coffee, about 6,000 trees, Baysa said, and about four of those acres are currently yielding crops. The business, with 13 employees, generates more than $700,000 in annual revenue.
Baysa said she and Patton will retire and devote more time to a project they’ve worked on for several years called Carousel of Aloha, building a carousel with hand-carved ponies.
Kelly Moran of Hilo Brokers, who has an agriculture degree from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, touted the operation’s location and potential for expansion.
“They have the potential, I believe, to plant another five to 10 acres, maybe more,” he said. “The number-one visitor attraction in the state is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and they’re right down the highway. They went through the special use permitting process to legally start that retail shop.
“This would be a really expensive business as a start-up and they have all those high-quality roasters and processors for the beans. The processing facility is really high quality and they have the ability to process a lot more coffee than they’re actually doing. A new owner could expand production and take more coffee for processing from other farmers. That’s one of the real upsides of this property.”
And, as Baysa noted, it’s a turnkey operation.
“Anyone who’s interested, we’re happy to train,” she said. “If a family wants to come in and do this as a family, and run it as a family farm, I think that’s awesome. They don’t have to wait for the time that it takes to plant trees and get them online.”
There’s also a Saturday farmers’ market at the mill, with breakfast, coffee and entertainment — all under an 8,000-square-foot canopy.
“Our farmers’ market is totally under cover, which is great,” Baysa said. “The vendors’ space is free; however, all products must be grown or made from something that’s grown in Hawaii.”
Baysa said she and Patton have enjoyed their interaction with staff and clientele, adding, “The farming side of it has all been great.”
“I didn’t realize how much satisfaction you can get from producing something from the dirt and being able to have people love what you do, your product,” she said. “It’s amazing. The people we’ve met and the relationships that we’ve developed and kept along the way are phenomenal. And having the support of our local community, as well, and to give back to our local community is part of who we are and what we do, so that’s been great.”
Moran said the business, which has been on the market “for about 100 days,” has attracted “more than a handful of interested parties.”
“The profile of the potential buyers looking at it tend to be West Coast baby boomers wanting to move here for lifestyle, tech-savvy entrepreneurs who could bring an infusion of online marketing know-how. It’s kind of a sexy business, growing, roasting and serving coffee,” he said. “… Being on the fringes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is a huge tourist driver, you have the ability to get visitors who are going from the national park down into Hilo and, of course, a coffee shop is a big draw. So there’s a lot of potential synergy there an entrepreneurial buyer could pick up and run with.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.