Neighbor of UF keeps business close to home

By: Olivia Wile
Twitter: o_wile

It is not all just coffee and tea for the quaint, friendly neighbor of the University of Findlay that is the George House Coffee and Tea Company.

Fitting for its name, the coffee shop is located on the corner of George Street, right across from the University. Formerly operated as a deli and coffee shop in Downtown Findlay, George House moved into its new home in 1993.

Upon stepping into a scenic world filled soft music, clusters of books and the aromas of their favorite drinks, General Manager Ben Huston says that George House offers a variety of options for its customers to indulge in.

“We kind of have an array,” stated Huston.  “We have numerous kinds of coffee. I mean we have light coffee, dark coffee, flavored coffee, but then we carry a huge amount of teas you know some of our specialty drinks are definitely what seem to bring a lot of people in.”

George House does not roast their own coffee beans, but the shop does not stray far from its roots in purchasing them from the Daily Grind in Bowling Green, Ohio. Keeping business close to home seems to be the trend of the shop as shelves are stocked with local honey, soap, and Oasis Hummus that Huston says they pick up fresh every Wednesday.

“I think one thing that’s really cool about George House, even with not all of our vendors, but definitely a lot of our vendors, is that we’ve built relationships with for years,” said Huston. “It’s just really neat for us to build those relationships over the years.”

Though he understands customers may be able to find similar products for cheaper, Huston believes supporting the community is an important cause.

“Yeah you might get that a little cheaper, but if you buy something here, what you just did was you just supported this business, which supported me, so that I can support the honey guy and I can support the soap girl,” said Huston. “It’s about supporting each other.”

It is in this same spirit that the coffee shop focuses on building relationships with the people who grace its doors.

“Yes, we want to serve a quality product here, without a doubt. That’s 50 percent of it, the other 50 percent is building relationships,” explained Huston. “We’re the first people that some people come into contact with and we have the opportunity to make their day or not make their day.”

Not only does Huston enjoy operating George House with this mission in mind, he says it is also critical when competing against larger, chain businesses.

“I think over the years as the amount of coffee shops have grown, while they don’t carry the same quality as we do, some of it is decent and they can do it cheaper when they’re bigger,” said Huston. “So for us, if we don’t have that relationship, you can go somewhere else.”

Whether with local vendors or its customers, forming relationships in the community is ultimately what prompted George House to expand. Customers can now enjoy their caffeine fix, local goods and friendly faces in a new space next door.

“I wanted to create a space that was open,” said Huston “If you need to study I want you to have a space to study, but I also want people to be able to come in, because that’s our older audience; they’re coming in to just talk, and I wanted a space to create that.”

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