Food, Culture & Community: Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company
Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company sits in the heart of Fletcher Place neighborhood, named after the 19th Century philanthropist and resident of Indianapolis, Calvin Fletcher. When Doug Litsey and son Jeff tossed around the idea of starting a coffee shop, neither of them were coffee drinkers and Jeff was halfway around the world teaching English in Asia. Their focus, rather, was their neighborhood; as a pastor of a small church, Doug was already heavily involved in the community, but desired a more informal setting to reach out to people. Additionally, Jeff had grown fond of the tea houses found all over Asia during his time spent there and how they provided a place where people could come, in an informal setting, to discuss current events and the like. All of these factors became the backbone of the Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company that opened its doors in October of 2009.
From the get-go, Jeff explained, his dad set the bar very high as to the quality of service and friendliness Calvin Fletcher's would stand for and provide to people who walked in the door. The idea was to create a place not only where people could come get coffee and gather, but also a place where people are really cared about and known on a personal level. This certainly makes Calvin Fletcher's unique: without a background in coffee at all, Doug and Jeff simply put people and their neighborhood first, allowing everything else to follow in that wake.
Not only do the Litsey's care about the people who come in, they also care about the quality of their coffee and have grown to know more about their product. One of the highlights of their offerings has to be the signature Calvin Pepper: a sweet and spicy cappuccino made with honey and a touch of cayenne pepper. On top of knowing more about coffee, Jeff explained how the shop has become an integral part of his life in ways unforeseen before Calvin Fletcher's opened. He has made many great friends with people he had never met before, including his wife, with whom he had his first conversation inside the store. Jeff feels the coffee shop to be place where people can come in and get information about anything and he marvels at the connections people in the community have, whether they realize it or not. Over the years he has seen houses sold and bought between customers at Calvin Fletcher's, among other needs fulfilled.
In the future, Jeff says Calvin Fletcher's would love to roast their own coffee at some point as the next step in the coffee business. Jeff says he also would love to make great coffee available to those who may not generally be able to afford it, even something as simple as driving a van around to different communities with fresh, quality coffee available at low cost. It seems with Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company there is always something wonderful or exciting to look forward to no matter what obstacles may stand in the way.