FLINT, Michigan -- Coffee and art have always been connected, with cafés serving as a common meeting place for creatives. A new Flint-based business called Rootless Coffee Co. takes that connection a step further.
Rootless Coffee was founded by entrepreneur Sean Murray in early 2020 after a number of conversations with friends Dom Kohn and Jonathan Diener. Diener, chief creative officer of Rootless Coffee Co., calls it a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We would always have talks about what we wish we could see in a new coffee company, so we finally decided to start our own,” Diener said. “Things started to fall into place, and with our network of friends and resources, we’ve been able to make something amazing for all coffee lovers.”
Starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging, but the three friends used it as a way to focus on a retail and ecommerce platform in lieu of opening a traditional coffee shop. Traditional doesn’t really fit the bill for Rootless anyhow -- Diener says a goal of the company is to reflect their fun personalities. And the key way they do that is through the packaging.
“Our bags are designed by popular comics and multimedia artists who put their own spin on each roast they’re assigned to,” Diener said. “I would try the coffee, get a loose idea in my head, an artist in mind who fits the vibe, and put them together and see what happens.”
The company aims to uplift local Flint-area creatives, including illustrators, photographers, videographers, and designers for upcoming bags and social media content that reflects the vibe of Flint.
“We want to give back to the community that’s given so much to us over the years,” Diener said. “We’re looking to work with local nonprofits, charities, and events and help wherever we can.”
Rootless Coffee currently has four roasts available with corresponding artists: A Damn Fine Cup Of Coffee (Craig Horky); Dark (Kelly Williams); Out There (Matt Emmons); and a single-origin offering called Berry Kiss (Emily Pearson).
The Company offers monthly and bi-weekly coffee subscriptions on their website, and is taking on new wholesale accounts across Michigan, including Penny’s Cafe in the Flint Farmers’ Market.
“I didn’t want Rootless to be just another coffee company,” Murray said. “The goal from day one was to marry our love of craft coffee with art, music, comedy, and general horseplay. We make coffee for everyone.”