Initially lunched as a food truck, Maury County’s Legacy Coffee Co. has hit a new stride more than a year after moving into its own standalone location.
The new spot has become a frequent hangout for Maury County locals, which rests conveniently along one of the region’s most traveled thoroughfares offering a quick local alternative for those on-the-go.
The local shop offers café-style service and a menu of breakfast and lunch dishes as well as a selection of house-roasted beans and other products to customers to take home.
Owner, longtime Spring Hill resident and former Starbucks coffee master, Joshua Merrill left behind his job with comfortable corporate benefits to offer a unique flavor to the region’s growing and celebrated scene of local coffee shops, restaurants and cafes.
“I took that leap of faith,” Merrill said. “I jumped with all the parts to build a plane and built it on the way down. It has been such an awesome experience to allow people to see what we do and how we do it. When people can come in and see the green coffee and watch it roast behind the window and then drink it. You get to experience the art.”
Opening during one of the most economically turbulent moments in the state’s history, Merrill and his family is celebrating more than a year of success at its location at 2547 Nashville Highway in Columbia.
The new location opened just as the state’s first cases of the COVID-19 virus were being reported, preceding extended state-wide regulations set in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It has been difficult — if COVID had not have been there, we would have taken off a little bit more, but overall, it has been awesome,” Merrill said. “A lot of our customers have continued to come back. Business has been good — so much so that we could qualify for the second round of payroll protection. This being our first year, it was really good.”
Despite the international pandemic, Merrill said Legacy Coffee Co.’s customers continued to support the local operation as it spread its wings at the new facility, leaving behind a space previously shared with Viking Pizza Company on Kedron Road in Spring Hill.
The move to a standalone building marked a new chapter for the local business that was started by Merrill with the purchase of a food truck and about two days worth of supplies in 2015.
Merrill said the new space allows the business to expand its menu of food items, including a selection of naan flatbreads and and baked goods, offering both breakfast and lunch.
An artisan fluid bed coffee roastery and café, Legacy Coffee Co. offers a variety of unique flavors with an ever-changing selection of beans from around the world, including Honduras, Colombia, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea.
All of its beans are certified fair trade and 100% Arabica.
“We want to create an environment for people where they are going to experience great coffee and not just drink great coffee,” Merrill said. “We are probably the friendliest place to get a cut of coffee. We want to have an environment where everyone feels welcome and everything is approachable and can bring anybody in to have a great experience.”
Each of the shop’s carefully selected coffees are prepared through an air roasting process.
An alternative to traditional roasting, fresh coffee is placed in a large metal funnel, lofted on a bed of very hot air, typically between 400-750 degrees.
“I love being a part of that experience and seeing how each coffee has its own flavor,” Merrill said. “At the time, there were not many air roasters out there, so we saw it as an opportunity to bring something new to the area. It was an opportunity to offer something just a little bit different.”
He said air roasted coffee offers a product with a lower level of acidity, offering a coffee that is less harsh on the digestive system.
“It is a much smoother coffee,” Merrill said. “It is a well-rounded flavor that is not bitter.”
For every pound of coffee Legacy Coffee Co. sells, the local business contributes a dollar towards charitable organizations.
With respect to those who serve the community and the nation, Legacy Coffee Co. offers both retired and active military personnel, educators and first responders with a 10% discount.
“We wanted to have an opportunity to give back to the community,” Merrill said. “We want to run our businesses with a focus on giving back to the community and not necessarily on profit. That is just a part of us. We value the people.
“It is a big part of what we do and why we do it — making the community a better place and value the people who continue to serve.”
A year following the launch of the new location and with the worst of a pandemic now in the near past, Merrill said he is confident in the local business’s continued growth.
“I feel awesome,” Merrill said. “The fact that we have gone from having an itty bitty food truck to having our own roastery and café with very little to no debt, I feel privileged knowing that we are one of the few that made it through the hardest parts of this. I am extremely honored by the fact that we had such a supportive community to get us through this.
“I love what I do. We are honored and privileged to be a part of this community and make it a better place for those around us.”
Legacy Coffee Co, 2547 Nashville Highway in Columbia, is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Call them at (931) 451-5163 and visit them online at www.legacycoffeecompany.com.
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