ARCO among firms that define city’s industryWhile folks have been drinking it for years, coffee brewers have never enjoyed such popularity as in recent years.
By: By JENNIFER SIMONSON, The Daily Telegram
While folks have been drinking it for years, coffee brewers have never enjoyed such popularity as in recent years. The advent of gourmet coffees, flavored coffees and coffee additives means coffee drinkers have never had so many choices along the way to finding just the right start to the day.
ARCO Coffee of Superior has been roasting beans in the Twin Ports since 1916. The company moved from Duluth to Superior in 1981 and currently employs 48 people. The Development Association helped then co-owner John Andresen to find a new location.
“They showed my dad a lot of locations, and they were very welcoming,” manager Don Andresen said, “more so than anywhere else that he looked. And he looked all over.”
ARCO, short for Andresen-Ryan Coffee Co., settled into the neighborhood on Winter Street west of Tower Avenue. It’s among the areas that are fast growing into a new industrial home for a variety of product manufacturers.
The company imports coffee beans from all over the world including Costa Rica, Colombia, Jamaica, Kenya, Guatemala, Sumatra, and Mexico. When they arrive, the beans are checked for quality and roasted.
“We get the green, un-roasted beans and sometimes we roast them as a straight variety, or else we blend them by putting a couple countries together and making a breakfast blend or something like that,” Andresen said.
Sometimes flavors are added. ARCO creates many flavor combinations including Norseman Grog, Tiramisu Amaretto and Bavarian Chocolate Raspberry. There are 24 varieties of flavored coffee available through ARCO and 39 specialty blends like Laskiainen Coffee, a Finnish blend.
ARCO packages coffee beans whole and ground from their 46,000 square-foot facility. Recently, Andresen added Fair Trade organic coffee to its list of offerings. Fair Trade coffee is sold under a program by the same name. It ensures that farmers will receive at least a minimum price for a pound. This minimum allows them to develop their communities by paying laborers a fair wage and still have enough left over to invest in their business and community.
Organic coffee is coffee that is grown under strict rules governing pesticides and fertilizers. When a flavor is applied to an organic coffee, that flavor must also meet the guidelines of organic products.
ARCO coffee is available in grocery stores and many restaurants and coffee houses in the area serve ARCO coffee. Business is by-and-large regional, according to Andresen. The company’s familiar red oval surrounded by blue with white letters inside can be seen on coffee makers all over the Twin Ports, and most of the company’s sales are in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
ARCO has two close neighbors. Freedom Respiratory Systems rents space in the warehouse. And Doug Bienick, a local artist who creates and sells marble statues and other artwork, rents space at ARCO for storage.
The Development Association is working with them to help rent extra space that’s available.
“It’s been a good experience being here,” Andresen said, and it has strengthened the city’s network of neighborhoods.
Jennifer Simonson is a Twin Ports freelancer with extensive experience in news reporting.