Roast is here to stay, no longer looking to sell
New Roast manager Wendy Closson came on board without salary to help see the business prosper. A

dv/Allegrezza

Roast is here to stay, no longer looking to sell

Story By: NICOLE ALLEGREZZA
9/7/2017


The Clossons opened Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company in 2010. Shortly after, the Closson family suffered hardship after hardship. Owner Bill Closson’s son and co-owner Evan Closson was diagnosed with cancer just after opening. Then in 2014, Bill had a stroke, and just a few months ago Ursula Closson, Bill’s wife and Evan’s mother, was also diagnosed with cancer.

And so when the opportunity to sell came along in early spring, the Closson family took it. But when the deal fell through and good health persevered, the Clossons decided to give Roast one last shot and brought Evan’s wife Wendy on board as the on-site manager.

Wendy Closson, also a cancer survivor, said Roast came at a time when Patchogue was still growing into what it is today. “Evan and Bill took it upon themselves to grow a business here [where they lived] and all the money came out of their pockets to create Roast,” she explained.

The truth, she said, in addition to all the heath hardships, is that coffee has a very low margin of profit, and the business, once a side hobby, became an effort. “They bit off a little more than they could chew,” she said frankly.

Evan, a software engineer, and Bill, a toxicologist, she said, were dishing out thousands of dollars every month just to see Roast succeed. “Originally, it was a hobby that they thought they could make a business, but it ended up costing them a tremendous amount of money.”

But now, after a failed attempt to sell, she said, the Clossons are looking to turn Roast around. “Roast is a labor of love that we aren’t ready to let go of,” she said. “Everything has been so hard, but we love it here.”

The bottom line is, she said, Roast is staying and there are no longer any plans to sell. Instead, she hopes to make it into a profitable business with drinks that no longer lose money. She also hopes to bring Evan and Bill’s dream of sharing coffee and tea in a wine-tasting-inspired way to the forefront and also really showcase their knowledge of brewing by creating a more culinary/educational coffee and tea experience.

“We want to highlight our drinks, like the pumpkin latte, which has real pumpkin in it. There is a story behind it and we only ever use natural ingredients,” she said, looking to showcase Roast’s individuality. “We know the changes aren’t going to happen overnight, but we love our customers and hope they are ready to change with us.”

When asked what customers can do to help see Roast prosper, she said just continue to share their Roast stories. “So many people tell me this is where they met their fiancé or are uplifted and motivated,” she said.

“We are excited to start a new chapter,” added Evan Closson. “My family has been really unfortunate and had to focus on other matters, but now we are finally able to put some attention back on Roast and we are really happy about it. We want to refocus and make sure we stay open and are able to keep providing coffee to Patchogue.”