Fuzzy Monkey Coffee to open café

Local business moves from shelves to cups

Published by Annabelle Chipps, Date: October 4, 2023
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Fuzzy Monkey Coffee Company, a veteran-owned roastery, is opening its first café storefront on Main Street.

The Slippery Rock-based coffee shop is set to open in early 2024 and will feature pastries along with specialty drinks such as espressos, lattes, mochas and more. They hope to eventually serve breakfast sandwiches as well.

“We’re gonna be very, very student friendly and student-oriented because we know where we are,” co-owner of the company, Brandon Simmons, said.

Part of catering to the university population involves the development of a brand-new surprise drink, according to the other owner—Brandon’s father Doug. “I will say that it’s going to be basically a plant-based energy drink,” Doug said.

The company also did extensive research on traditional coffee drinks that are popular with college students.

“A demographic is going to be targeted…I’ve gained a lot of insights from other coffee, café businesses around the country that I follow,” Doug said. “I’m excited about it…I think it’ll be a big attraction to the student population for sure.”

Drink ingredients are heavily researched, and pastries are locally and ethically sourced as well. Baked goods will come from a bakery in Butler that currently serves coffee from Fuzzy Monkey.

“We do care about the environment, care about the farmers,” Brandon said. “We have two different female-based farms that we get coffee from and support…our whole brand and marketing is pretty much just centered around sustainability and equality.”

Doug said the local community and its causes are important as well. The company developed a ‘Firehouse Blend’ from which they donate a portion of the proceeds to Slippery Rock’s firehouse.

“We’re excited to be able to do more,” Doug said. “I’d like, as a veteran myself, to be able to do more for some veteran causes.”

Brandon and Doug Simmons are both veterans and have centered part of their brand on that.

“We launched in early 2019…we actually started out as a coffee-roasting company. We have a home roastery and [a] big air roaster and we basically import green beans from all over the world,” Brandon said. “The big goal, I think with any coffee company is eventually to get a storefront in a café. We’re being very choosy…and just trying to grow our brand locally…you know, get ‘five mile famous.’”

While growing the brand, Brandon used a computer to develop 10,000 random monkey characters in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFTs). In the past, Fuzzy Monkey used the NFTs as a rewards program for purchasing their items. They hope to implement it into the café somehow.

“My next idea would be to make all 10,000 of those into like a catalog form and let people choose those for a certain amount. It would basically be like a rewards program where you could get your monkey that you picked on maybe a piece of merch…” Brandon said. “Then we would give you a card..or something on an app that you could scan.”

“I would love to see…people showing off their monkeys around town,” he said. Both owners mentioned they are open to ideas for ways to implement NFTs into the storefront.

The business plans to have an app for other purposes as well, potentially adding an order ahead feature. They are not able to have a drive-through at the moment, but they intend to accommodate curbside delivery.

“We do plan on this café being an area for students to come in and chill and get work done. Maybe once a week [we’ll] have an open mic night or something like that,” Brandon said. “[We’ll] get the students in there to just have a good time and enjoy being there and maybe even learn a thing or two about good coffee.”

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