Wholesale coffee store comes back to city

Jamaican Gourmet Coffee, having outgrown its previous spot in North Haven, has returned to its Elm City roots.

The business, which supplies many local coffee shops with their blends, plans to celebrate its grand opening later this month. After more than a year of negotiations with the city, the coffee roasting company moved into a 10,800 square foot space at 380 East St. in December with the help of a business loan and tax break to ease the transition.

Originally created as a one-man operation in a house on Humphrey Street 20 years ago, Jamaican Gourmet Coffee has transformed into a full wholesale business with 15 employees. Owner Lloyd Parchment said he has been looking to bring his growing company back to his hometown for the past few years.

“I see New Haven as a place with tremendous potential,” Parchment said. “We intend to take an aggressive stand to show businesses here that we are a local company and want to make more of a contribution to the city.”

Jamaican Gourmet Coffee is a wholesale store that distributes to many local New Haven coffee shops as well as to Yale’s Blue Dog Cafe in the Hall of Graduate Studies. Parchment says he hopes to do more business with the University and Yale-New Haven Hospital now that he is stationed in New Haven.

The city of New Haven awarded Parchment a public loan of $188,500 after he applied through City Hall last year. Small Business Initiative Director Walter Esdaile said the city approved his application because of the company’s success in North Haven.

“We look at every loan application we get and determine whether it will create job opportunities,” Esdaile said. “Parchment’s business will be adding a number of job openings for locals, so it’s a good loan for us.”

When a business receives a loan from the city, the owner must post job openings through City Hall, which gets the first chance to fill those spots. The city looks to hire low-income city residents, Esdaile said.

Mayoral spokesman Derek Slapp said the loan program has been a big benefit for the city, and he expects it will pay off in Parchment’s case as well.

“I believe he is going to double his jobs,” Slapp said. “They’re also coming to a part of the city that we’d like to see developed.”

Aside from being a New Haven resident, Parchment said he was drawn back to the city because it has a wider market and offers more opportunity to expand. He said he expects his customers from North Haven to continue to support his business.

“I really want to keep my focus in New Haven and make a contribution here,” Parchment said. “I plan to employ local people and give back after all the city has done for me.”

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