By Joseph Pratt
The online company Only in Your State, which publishes lists of noteworthy businesses, places and events in communities all over the United States, has placed Coffee @ the Lofts on its list of the top 15 coffee houses in Ohio.
Coffee @ the Lofts has been in business for about 18 months in Portsmouth, becoming a community living room; it is a place where people meet, relax, study for a test, hold business meetings or interviews, and more.
The welcoming environment is designed to provide a comfortable place to meet and be social, while enjoying quality roasted, ground and brewed coffee. Owner Terry Ockerman said he was careful in planning the space, a design based on comfort and uniqueness, as well as finding a quality coffee bean.
“We have transitioned into a place for people, 16 or 65, to enjoy coffee and whatever else in comfort,” Ockerman said. “We have tried to focus on quality product, customer service and atmosphere. That tactic has really worked well for us.”
Ockerman said he has always been fluid on the purpose of the shop, located at 842 Gallia St. So long as people are enjoying quality coffee, in an atmosphere that adds to the Portsmouth community, he is happy.
“Coffee @ the Lofts has really become the place that, if family is in town, you bring them to visit at the shop, and we take that as a major compliment. It has become a place where, not only students come to work, but professors. We have people using it for one-on-one job interviews. Coffee @ the Lofts is a place where residential and business atmospheres come together. It is a general place where anyone can find their place,” Ockerman said.
Coffee @ the Lofts was placed 12 on the list and Ockerman said it came as a shock to him. He says he doesn’t know the author of the list, he hadn’t even known she visited his shop, and he hasn’t even had communication with her. He plans on reaching out to her and getting more feedback on her visit soon.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the list,” Ockerman said. “There has been a little buzz generated. When I go to coffee conventions, a lot of the vendors know who we are and they know a little about us. Things feel like our purposely slow growth has started to show returns, as far as customers and customer count.”
Ockerman spent most of his time during the building phase to visit major coffee shops and meeting other business owners. He also took a lot away from friend, and also placeholder on the list, Deeper Roots Coffee, about from where to get beans. Ockerman has learned about the people who harvest the beans, as well as the people who roast them, all in effort to provide the best possible product.
“We meet with a lot of people to discuss what works and what doesn’t work,” Ockerman said. “I think networking with other shops has really helped us grow the most.”
Ockerman also owns the Lofts @ 840 Gallia, is a member of several boards, and is active in making the area a better place for all. He said he is passionate about growing the area and making it a better place for business and living.
“Coffee @ the Lofts is just one more plus when you visit or Google Portsmouth,” Ockerman said. “I think that it makes us more of a city that people want to live, work and play. We believe that anytime Portsmouth looks good for any reason, it makes us all look good.”
The shop can be reached at 740-354-3597.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.