Welcome to Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters!
For eighteen years owner and entrepreneur David Ledgard has made it his life to roast and blend the highest quality specialty coffee and deliver an unprecedented customer service. Having trained with legendary coffee icons Jim Stewart and roast-master Peter Larsen, David shares his passion, love, and luck about everything coffee with everyone he meets. From children and youth, to business students and young adults, to roasters and coffee farmers, to vendors and green behind the beans newbies like myself David speaks with spirited forward thinking and creativity about what is real and human and all things positive about excellent customer service. We began the interview with smiles and laughter in the middle of a fast paced office environment. Inviting me into the coffee depot through a door with a sign on the warehouse side, STOP Happy Hour Now, it is the warming aroma of fresh roasting coffee that pauses you as it pours over you. Capturing my mind and breath for a moment it was like being surprised by a work of art.
Sean Watson, Dawson Taylor’s roaster, creates every roast with his senses using two high volume roasting machines. The only computers are for business management. Sipping on a cup of their Sumatra on the roasting floor, I remarked, “Man, this is really good coffee.” David’s response with eyebrows raised, nodding with focused affirmation and a smile, “It wouldn’t be on the floor if it wasn’t good.” Anyone who stops by at anytime for almost any reason is welcomed in and offered a cup of coffee. David said, “It’s important to be good neighbors.”
Considering himself a lucky man because he does what he loves, celebrates that what he does is who he is, and that he has surrounded himself with great people David pondered with the surprise of someone who won the lottery, “How did all this happen?”
Listening to David’s histories while Sean roasted, order being packed and vans loaded for prompt roasting day delivery, David interrupted his narratives with introductions to each of the employees.
What is most unique is his transparency. His directness draws you into this life of coffee and before you know it you are caught up in his wonder and passion. He spoke genuinely about almost closing their doors, employees rallying for a purpose greater then he imagined, and the risks and great rewards of creating a business out of his garage with a demanding clarity on the details of quality coffee and customer service. Whatever he, his family, and his employees have been through have only galvanized this hope he shared while remembering a beloved employee they suddenly lost to cancer a few years ago, “We know we can get through anything.” He said with weathered honesty, “You know, there really isn’t a cliff, only a rocky path,” and it is important for him that they greet challenges with a positive liberating attitude.
David enjoys working with other artisan entrepreneurs and helping them create coffee beers and root beers and restaurants who are on the inventive unique edge willing to experiment with an espresso. They enjoy doing business with owners who care about quality and caring for the customer.
One of David's great insights was what independent coffee roasters and shop owners can provide that other corporate giants struggle to supply; namely, utilizing their great freedom and flexibility to come through on the details of an incredible customer service. David said with a quieted intensity, “If a client’s espresso machine breaks down we will have it fixed immediately or we’ll give them a loaner and have them operational in thirty minutes. Will Starbucks do that for you?”
With the possibility of a re-branding in the works, Dawson Taylor’s vision for creating a quality product, delivering quality service, and running an effective people business David said with a laugh and simplistic insight, “Better is better.” Quality coffee beans, wherever they are from, motivate Dawson Taylor to offer the superiority they want to provide. As for the vision of what the bigger picture looks like for Dawson Taylor, David said with enthusiasm, “Long term sustainability of a great product. We are judged by what is in the cup, not on the cup. Everything changes and we will be in the middle of that exciting change.”
Dr. Tom Lobaugh