Boone, North Carolina, named for pioneer Daniel Boone, is like a smaller version of nearby Asheville, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains. Here, the focus of nearly every business is local and sustainable. Boone's population is mostly students of Appalachian State University, and also includes some seasonal and year-round residents, all of whom lend the area a distinct funkiness.
Every college town needs a coffee roaster to caffeinate its masses, but Hatchet isn’t exactly what you’d expect. Located in an unassuming warehouse on the way to Rocky Knob Park, Hatchet shares space with Center 45, an indoor climbing gym. This is just one indicator of what type of customers Hatchet serves: lovers of adventure.
Opened by friends Jeremy Bollman and Jeremy Parnell nearly two years ago, Hatchet's menu is both expansive, with options like nitro cold brew, and approachable. Every drink is $4 and under.
In the spirit of collaboration, they carry pastries from local bakeries, including Stick Boy, Mountain Flower, and Brays. Their coffee is used by local breweries like Booneshine, Appalachian Mountain Brewing, and Lost Province, as well as local restaurants and coffee shops. And Hatchet is a mainstay at local bike races and bouldering competitions.
Bollman and Parnell met while working at Stick Boy in 2013, when they dreamed of bringing a West Coast-style roaster to their beloved town. Parnell moved to Boone in 2009 to attend Appalachian State. “I spent most of my time roaming the remote hills of Appalachia in search of boulders,” he says of his time at school and then-new love of rock climbing. “And that's when I truly fell in love with Boone and knew that I wanted a career here.”
Thanks to trial and error and software like Cropster, Bollman and Parnell figured out what they needed to run a roastery. The team purchased a roaster from Chattanooga’s Velo Coffee Roasters before eventually going in on a Mill City 20K. They buy most of their green coffee through Cafe Imports, Keffa Coffee, and Dos Niñas. The Hatchet coffee bar includes a La Marzocco Linea EE, and its menu includes craft coffee drinks inspired by the seasons as well as other “craft” industries, like beer and spirits.
Their decision to purchase a small roaster added them to an already crowded market of local roasteries. “I think there were around five by the time we started but we both felt like there was room for one more,” Parnell says. “Our approach to roasting coffee was going to be different enough that we knew there would be a portion of the market to support us.”
The name Hatchet reflects a love of Boone's surroundings. “We very much wanted a brand that reflected the outdoors that we love,” Parnell says. “With that, we wanted a symbol that would be easily recognizable and relatable to those who also love the outdoors, and we felt that a hatchet truly embodied that.”
Like the tool itself, the roastery's ideal is to be simple in design and function. It represents hard work, independence, and quality. Hatchet is, after all, where you stop by before an adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This is Caroline Eubanks first article for Sprudge.
All photos courtesy of Jeremy Parnell, used with permission.