Entrepreneur Searches Two Years for Perfect Coffee Shop Spot
By Amanda King
Army veteran Andrew Gorman knows from his time in the military that it takes a lot of preparation to go into battle. He’s applying that training to opening Hot Moose Coffee.
Gorman, a first-time entrepreneur has been planning to open a coffee shop in Columbia County for the last two years. Now he’s ready for action.
“You don’t just go out and do something,” he said of his due diligence.
The military brought him and his family to the CSRA, and the Gormans fell in love with Columbia County. After nearly nine years at Fort Gordon, they moved to a place the polar opposite of the Georgia heat and humidity – Alaska.
While stationed about 10 miles outside of Anchorage, Gorman began to notice coffee places all over the town and throughout most of the state.
“In Alaska, coffee is a real big thing since it’s much colder,” he said. He described drive-up huts, about the size of a shed where cars pull up to the window to order a cup of Joe. “Those are all over the place.”
Following Gorman’s retirement from the Army, he attended transition classes that help soldiers think about what they will do after leaving the military. One of those classes included a visit from the Small Business Administration. Their presentation about veterans starting their own businesses didn’t appeal to Gorman initially.
“But the more they talked, I thought ‘okay, that’s not bad,’” he said.
With help from his wife and inspired by the Alaskan coffee, they decided to start a coffee business when they returned to Evans for her job.
After arriving, he set out to find land to build a drive-up hut in Columbia County similar to those he had experienced in Alaska. He found out quickly that prices for land in Columbia County were higher than he was expecting. So, the search began for a property to lease.
In the meantime, Gorman attended the American Barista and Coffee School to learn the science of brewing that perfect cup of coffee. Gorman found a roaster out of Atlanta to produce coffee for his future shop. In addition to having good coffee, Batdorf and Bronson had the ability to ship quickly, something Gorman said is incredibly important for the coffee business.
He began testing the different brews with his friends who he knew he could trust to give their most honest opinion. They even helped him pick out his logo and Alaska-inspired mascot, Joe the Moose.
He had the coffee. He had the name and logo. But what he didn’t have was a place to actually start the business.
That changed when he found not one, but two vacant spots next to one another behind the Marshall Family Y in Evans. At 2,300 square feet, Gorman felt it was the perfect place to set up shop and turn his dream into reality.
Gorman has big plans for his two suites at 1202 Town Park Lane, just off Belair Road. He wants to create a space where customers can spend time talking with friends while enjoying a hot or cold beverage and a deli sandwich or sweet treat. For parents who want to get out of the house and have a conversation with a friend, there will be a children’s play area to keep the kids occupied.
“I want people to feel comfortable when they come in,” Gorman said.
For more details on Hot Moose Coffee, including the announcement of their opening day, follow it on Facebook at facebook.com/HotMooseCoffee.