FAIRBORN — Husband and wife team Lynne and James Mowery have taken their passion for coffee cold brew into the local marketplace with Fifty 5 Rivers.
Located just outside of downtown Fairborn, the cold brew repository and retail store has been in operation since late 2020.
Having met while attending University of Dayton, the Mowery duo married in late 1998 and have each courted an eclectic variety of careers ranging from computer science (James), to education (Lynne), to running their own pet waste removal franchise (James and Lynne together).
“My professional journey has taken me everywhere,” Lynne, 52, said. “But, during the last few years, James and I have learned that we work well together, which is why we were so excited to jump into this latest enterprise.”
To help support the couple’s burgeoning business, James, 47, explained his “second day job” is as a financial consultant, helping out other entrepreneurs with their own business endeavors, specifically franchise management.
Surprisingly, it was only up until quite recently that James had little to no interest in coffee before being introduced to the gastronomical pleasures of the specialized cold brew process, a process that creates a wholly different flavor profile, acidity, and caffeine quotient than conventional hot java.
The Mowery’s first purchased the building now housing Fifty 5 Rivers in August 2019. The team was looking forward to developing, renovating, and kickstarting their company without realizing that world events would drastically disrupt their nascent plans.
“We had no idea what was coming with the pandemic only a few months later,” Lynne said. “So, we had to make some pivots nearly right away and ended up not opening officially until Aug. 1, 2020.”
Added James, “We had originally planned on opening March 2020. But, obviously, that ended up not being possible for obvious reasons.”
As the Mowerys continue to build their brand and become more acknowledged as a kind of conventional coffee shop alternative of sorts, they also are finding unique ways to connect with not only their potential market but the community at large.
They are currently revamping their delivery system, which is currently handled by a secondary outsourced company. The Mowerys are looking into ways to be able to deliver their cold brew themselves, which would cut down on costs to the customer and also better mind the quality assurance of their product during transportation.
The Mowerys already operate their own version of a food truck, which they characteristically refer to as their “barge” — being that everything at Fifty 5 Rivers has some kind of “water” theme to its naming and categorization. The Fifty 5 Rivers barge is a large trailer with which the couple can traverse the region with a team of three or four helpers managing their outward bound sales at live events, festivals, and other outdoor gatherings.
Due to the fact that they can’t take their cold brew to indoor specialty events, however, the duo is working on developing a “mini-barge” that would allow them to operate the system themselves and in a far more mobile way that could be brought inside rather than having to hole up in a parking lot or other outdoor area via their larger barge facility.
In addition to a few other concepts for expansion and diversification of their Fifty 5 Rivers storefront and brand, the Mowerys are currently endeavoring to establish a series of seminar-workshops for other local entrepreneurs. This concept would be using Fifty 5 Rivers’ upstairs office area — fitted with comfortable chairs, spacious tables, and multiple screens for virtual “fireside chats” and the like — as a venue for the couple to host business networking events, discussions, and lectures by successful business persons who could talk to those looking to kickstart their own independent businesses.
Being that the Mowerys care as much about the local area and boosting interest in Fairborn itself, along with environmental issues that they donate a portion of their profits to as well, they are adamant that hosting such workshops and meetups could be another way to “give back” to the community that has been their home for decades now.
“A lot of this is also about figuring out what we can do to bring people to Fairborn and also, ultimately to our store,” Lynne said. “What can we do to get people to come and experience what we’re offering here? How can we branch out? Which is where a lot of these other ideas we’ve done or are preparing to do come into play. It’s really about reaching out to the community and other communities outside of Fairborn, too.”