Providing a neighbor with a warm cup of coffee on a crisp Autumn day is the perfect scenario for Paul VanGundy, founder of Five Points Roasters. After living in Five Points for three years, he started his coffee company just six months ago, launching the brand with the neighborhood’s namesake. “Five Points Roasters is based on the Five Points area in which I live and roast out of,” said VanGundy. “Because we have a high quality product, I wanted to have a name representative of that high quality. I view Five Points as a high quality neighborhood,” he explained.
Five Point Roasters has been keeping it in the neighborhood as it transitions from VanGundy’s passion project into a small business. VanGundy’s love of coffee and his curiosity about Charlotte’s craft coffee scene is what brought about Five Points Roasters. “I have always loved coffee. I carry it everywhere, kind of like a child with his blanket. It does not matter if it is 98 degrees or 20 degrees, I always have my coffee,” said VanGundy. This love of coffee took the avid coffee drinker from sipping Starbucks to sipping cups from Charlotte’s craft coffee shops.
The craft coffee scene piqued VanGundy’s curiosity about the coffee making process. He wanted to know how to make a light roast and a dark roast. He wanted to know what types of beans to buy. He was researching the different flavors from different regions. Finding answers to his coffee questions was not enough for VanGundy. He wanted to learn about craft coffee through trial and error. He began roasting coffee for himself. He eventually started sharing his roast with a few friends. The next step was to sell his roast to the community. The motivation to sell his coffee roast came from VanGundy being tapped into Charlotte’s craft coffee scene. “What piqued my interest in wanting to really do it [sell coffee] and just jump out there was Enderly Coffee Co. I am a big fan of their coffee and their story.” He continued, “That was kind of the launching point that made me say ‘I wanted to do this myself.’”
Five Points Roaster started to sell coffee at markets around Historic West End and directly to customers through social media. They were a part of the Rosa Parks Farmers Market, Bennu Gardens events and markets, and other vendor opportunities in the neighborhood. Five Points Roasters coffee is also on the shelves of Toucan Louie’s Cafe & Roastery in Historic West End. The plan now is to revamp the company website with e-commerce functions so Five Points Roasters can do more direct sales with customers through an online store.
The revamp of the website is a means to keep up with the adoption of Five Points Roasters coffee. “People have been buying it and drinking it quicker than I expected. We have had to quickly adapt and roast more, which is a good thing,” shared VanGundy. Next steps for Five Points Roasters is looking at further distribution of the coffee to get it in the hands of more people. They are working to get more shelf space and to get into more coffee shops around Charlotte. There has even been talk about possibly opening a Five Points Roasters coffee shop in the Five Points neighborhood.
Being in the neighborhood and connecting with neighbors is a big part of Five Points Roasters mission. “Being able to serve the neighbors we know and don’t know has been a real joy for us,” said VanGundy. “We are really excited to be a part of the community...We just genuinely enjoy serving our neighbors. We hope the path continues to allow us to do that as we go forward.”