In the early 1970s, when Paul Walsh and Janice McGinnis moved to Westwood from the San Francisco Bay Area, a good cup of coffee could not be found in this mountain town. Therefore, they would purchase a 135 pound bag of green Columbian coffee beans and roast them in a popcorn popper on the stove.
This, according to McGinnis, was the foundation of a commercial coffee company the couple operated for 30 years as J.P. McWalsh Coffee. Paul roasted the beans and Janice distributed the packaged product to local markets in Taylorsville, Greenville, Chester, Westwood and Susanville and also filled a few mail orders for regular customers who lived out of the area.
After Paul died the summer of 2017, Jason and Nicole Staniger asked how they could help and Janice said she needed a coffee roaster and someone to walk Quaker, Paul’s dog. Jason stepped up, so when the time came to sell, the Stanigers were offered the business.
The roaster is old fashioned, spotted through a back window of a coffee and chocolate business while walking in Reno. It was purchased for $5,000. Until Staniger creates a space for the roaster at his house it will remain in the greenhouse at McGinnis’s. The arrangement still provides opportunities to walk Quaker.
“We bought good coffee beans, and we took good care in roasting them, and Jason is even more careful than Paul was,” said McGinnis.
Staniger has already taken classes. Both he and McGinnis agree continuing education is important for a coffee roaster. Crops can differ every year depending on the growing season.
McGinnis and Walsh once traveled to Costa Rica to meet some of the farmers that produced beans they roasted. They purchased fair trade, organic beans from many countries accessed through a distributor in Emeryville and the Stanigers will continue the practice. “Our goal is to make it the most eco-friendly green coffee company we can, from bean to packaging”.
Their approach to sales will differ, however. McGinnis said she never tried to grow the business. It was meant to be a part-time job. It was launched when Walsh went to work for Builders Supply. Each winter he had a three-month seasonal layoff and McGinnis wanted January, February and March off as well. The coffee company gave her a job with flexible hours.
According to Nicole, her husband intends to grow the company roasting coffee for all the current J.P. McWalsh accounts but also creating a new label. They sell other food products, such as bread, under the name “Quiet Earth” but will come up with a new name when ready to expand coffee sales.
Now that McGinnis will no longer spend time printing labels and gluing them on bags for distribution, she will pursue other interests. “I am looking forward to working in my garden more, I really love working in my garden,” she said.