Middletown coffeehouse sells shares to employees

FOURTEEN PERCENT of the ownership of Custom Coffee Company in Middletown has been transferred to employees as of Thursday. / COURTESY BOB MASTIN
FOURTEEN PERCENT of the ownership of Custom Coffee Company in Middletown has been transferred to employees as of Thursday. / COURTESY BOB MASTIN

MIDDLETOWN – After one year, 14 percent of the ownership of Middletown-based Custom Coffee Co. has transitioned to 14 of its 21 part-time and full-time employees, according the company’s founder Bob Mastin Thursday.

The transition, which includes ownership of both the 15-year-old coffeehouse, wholesale roasting operation and the associated real estate, was begun Jan. 1, 2017 when Mastin first started selling shares of the firm to employees.

Mastin said in a statement that he was “surprised and gratified” at the two-thirds percent participation rate among employees.

“After all, they’re largely responsible for [the business’s] success,” he added.

Custom Coffee Company logo. / COURTESY CUSTOM COFFEE COMPANY
Custom Coffee Company logo. / COURTESY CUSTOM COFFEE COMPANY
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Only active employees are eligible to buy stock and of those individuals the amount of hours worked at coffeehouse to-date determines the number of stocks each employee can purchase at a time.

Since the transition commenced Mastin says employees have become more mindful of businesses expenses.

“Now that so many of the staff are owners, sharing in the profits, they are more careful about waste and spending money,” he said.

Additionally, Mastin hopes prospective employment will help attract more skilled workers.

He explained: “Getting top-quality employees is one of the biggest challenges for any small business, so anything that helps attract and keep the best people will be very beneficial.”

The transition will take place “gradually” in order to maintain the sustainability of the business and ensure a smooth transition said Mastin, a U.S. Navy veteran in his mid-sixties.

“We have all worked really hard to build a great local business,” he said. “I want it to continue long after I’m out of the picture.”

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.