Despite miserably hot temperatures outside, five young men touring the state from Washington, D.C., made their way inside Range Finder Coffee shop to get their piping hot daily dose of caffeine.
After they ordered their drinks, customer service didn’t end there.
“Hey, man,” Craig Reger, owner of Range Finder Coffee, said to one of the customers as he carefully slid his coffee across the bar. “Try this and make sure it isn’t too bold. We can add something to it if it is.”
Reger leaned across the wooden bar, creasing his “Star Wars” shirt in the process, and waited for the young tourist to take his first sip.
“No,” the young man said, smiling. “It’s good!”
Reger took a step back inside his tiny coffee bar, pushed back his honey-colored hair and smiled. Coffee is his craft.
“It’s super fun,” Reger said. “I really enjoy interaction with people. It’s really nice, because in coffee, you get immediate feedback. If somebody really likes your coffee, they’ll walk three steps, turn around and say, ‘This is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had!’ Or, if they don’t like it, you’ll know right away.”
If a customer isn’t quite pleased with the taste of the coffee, Reger will try to fix it. Once, he said he made five coffees for a customer to get the flavor just right.
“Customer service is something that’s always been in my blood,” he said.
Nonetheless, Reger has only been crafting coffees for about four months. He’s been running a coffee shop for even less time.
With the grand opening on June 6, Range Finder Coffee is just more than two months old. Although the coffee shop may still be considered young, Reger, who works all week, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., explained that business is doing well.
“I think coffee is one of those things that would probably survive any depression or apocalyptic event,” he said with a laugh. “As long as the coffee beans are still growing for us.”
Reger, an adventurous young man from eastern Pennsylvania, fell in love with West Virginia over a decade ago when he traveled down for a rock climbing trip. Not too long afterward, he began working at a little brick building called Water Stone Outdoors. For years, he sold rock climbing, camping and backpacking gear.
In a way, he never left the shop.
Now, placed in front of the glass doors of the same brick building, there stands a small, white sign. It simply reads: Coffee.
Inside Water Stone Outdoors, beyond the walls of purple and black harnesses and too many shoes to count, Reger stands at his coffee bar in the back corner, surrounded by whiffs of fresh air, glistening sunlight and the trail of sweet, bold coffee. Above him, a vintage camera and a dainty list of all the coffee selections dangle from the wall, all while fancy coffee machines buzz behind the wooden stand.
In reality, he just changed counters.
It’s a small counter, but Reger said that he wanted to test the waters before he took on something bigger.
Before deciding to open Range Finder Coffee, Reger had the dream of roasting his own beans and disbursing them. However, there was one problem: Reger didn’t know how to roast, nor did he have anyone to teach him.
Eventually, he found Chuck Pfahler, the owner of La Terza Coffee in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not only did Pfahler teach him about coffee, but it’s also where Reger gets his beans for his coffee.
Reger says it’s all about experimentation and seeing people expand their coffee palate.
“I’ve had people come in who vow they only take cream and sugar in their coffee,” he explained. “Then, for someone who likes sweet coffee, give them an Ethiopian blend, which has a note of strawberry, and they find their new favorite coffee drink.”
“It’s fun to help people kind of navigate the world of coffee,” Reger noted, “even though I’m still pretty fresh to it.”
The name, Range Finder Coffee, comes from another of his passions — photography.
According to Reger, range finders were put into cameras to help ensure clarity and focus.
“So, some people would look at coffee that way,” he explained. “It’s something that helps them focus.”
In the future, Reger plans to expand and add more seating to the area, as well as featuring a wall full of artwork.
Range Finder Coffee is in Fayetteville, on East Wiseman Avenue, inside Water Stone Outdoors. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, check out the Range Finder Coffee Facebook page.
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