Charles Asselbaye is much more than just a small business owner who makes a great cup of coffee.
For him coffee is like fine wine.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Coffee is most often described like wine. First, you want to taste the body, how heavy is it, viscous or light and watery, the acidity, is it sour and the overall flavor as well.”
He says he first discovered coffee in 1996 straight out of college, working at a small coffee roasting shop in Maryland.
At the time he didn’t even drink coffee. But that changed quickly.
“I just love the fact the coffee comes from all over the world. It’s originally from Africa, like I am, and it’s enjoyed by everybody around the world and it makes people happy.”
Again, like a fine wine.
“You have some that are nutty, even chocolatey Kona coffee,” he explains. “A lot of it is medium body and a little nutty with some floral finishes and floral notes to it, so that would be the aroma part of it.”
After a three year apprenticeship, Charles eventually earned to distinction of master roaster.
While roasting coffee is his craft, owning his own coffee shop was his dream.
“So I took a leap of faith,” he said. “I had another coffee shop in Hawaii Kai that I sold to my partner and I launched this one about three years ago.”
From his signature coffee’s to his fresh locally sourced organic menu items, Local Joe is developing a loyal following.
But like many small businesses, success equals challenge.
“For me it’s lack of time with my family that’s been kind of hard. The kids are growing fast and you don’t get that time back. And cash flow. Any small business owner will tell you that cash flow is the key to success.”
In an effort to buy more time and brew up more business, Charles is looking into a larger roaster that would allow him to more than quadruple the amount of beans he could roast each day.
But for now, he just wants to focus on maintaining the quality, and, like his company’s name, keeping it local.
And like every meal or cup of coffee he serves, he says his recipe for success is simple.
“Being consistent. Offering people something that they don’t get everywhere else”
And that is what separates Local Joe from the others.
“We print people messages on the coffee every morning when we make smiles, and we have notes with little sayings on them. It’s just the little things that make people come back”.
All he asks is you don’t go past PG-13.
“We’ve had birthdays and engagements with people asking for marriage on their cup of coffee there right would you marry me, and they said yes!”