Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Entrepreneurship Stories: Black Business Month Series – Paris Landon Jr. of Woodstock Coffee Company

August 3, 2023

Entrepreneurship Stories: Black Business Month Series

Q&A Featuring Paris Landon Jr. of Woodstock Coffee Company

August is Black Business Month in the U.S., and to celebrate, COED will be featuring black-owned businesses of Cherokee County all month long.

To kick off the series, we’ll hear from Paris Landon Jr., owner of Woodstock Coffee Company. Landon highlighted the importance of Black Business Month, saying, “It means a lot to me as a person that has [faced] challenges and can now have these spaces for people to feel comfortable.” We are so excited to celebrate these businesses this month.

Tell us what inspired you to start your business?

My love for coffee! Being from Seattle, coffee has always been a large part of my life since an early age. But what got me started in actually being an entrepreneur? Being involved in leadership, and then managing businesses and knowing how to grow businesses is what made me try to put the two together. I knew ultimately working for myself was what I wanted to do going forward, but I didn’t want to do something that I wasn’t passionate about.

I always wanted to have my life involved in the three things that I’m passionate about: music, health and fitness, and coffee.

How has being in Cherokee County helped grow your business?

I’ve been roasting coffee since 2015 professionally and have been relatively unknown. But the small community of people that knew me and supported me, they supported me really hard. The farmer’s market in Downtown Woodstock gave me a tremendous stage to present my product each week and connect with people. The people at the farmer’s market came back each week, they brought friends and bought from us.

We’ve also worked with several larger businesses that carry our coffee. To name a few, we’ve worked with Rise Coffee and Tea, A&M Kitchen and His Hands Church in Woodstock.

What advice would you give to other small businesses who are wanting to grow/scale their business?

Be consistent and be good at failing.  How you respond to failure is oftentimes crucial to any large goal or dream. You must be able to run your business the same no matter what challenges you face, that’s the key.

It is important to be passionate about what you’re doing because it’s hard to be consistent with something you don’t like. It is important to discover what your niche is, and make sure you’re in the right field. If it’s not something you are passionate about, make sure that you consider whether or not you want to do it.

The other side of being able to scale your business is having people you can trust. We don’t hire people solely based on knowledge of coffee; we want people who are passionate about being their personal best. We obviously want someone who can pour a great cup of coffee, but ultimately a person’s character and drive is much more important. Two people that show that every day and are a large part of our growth are my father Paris Landon Sr. and my wife Tania Ventura Landon.

When I interview people, I ask them what their goals are and if they are passionate about achieving them. Hopefully being part of a small business will give them the push and creativity to know that anything is possible if they push their comfort zone. The amount that they gain from that is invaluable. We hope to be a stepping stone to somebody’s success.

A while ago, I learned that small mountains are what build the best teams. I realized that everybody in the world wanted to say they could climb Mount Everest, but they didn’t realize the challenges that might come without the proper training. If people never take the

small mountains to train to get there, they are automatically committing themselves to failure. That’s why I like to start with small mountains, because once you’ve accomplished a small mountain, it’s crazy what else can be accomplished in the future.

As a business owner, I depend on my team. I’ve tried to do everything myself, and I found that I’m really bad at it. I’ve realized there are so many people that could shine and do well on their own, but they just need the right team.

How can we as a community best support you now and in the future? 

Well, I think we are still growing in the City of Woodstock. One way that businesses specifically can support us is to share our coffee. We are starting to take new wholesale clients, so we are currently looking for local businesses to carry and serve our coffee. So much of our growth has been because our customers have told other people about us, and that works!

I like to tell people that a great cup of coffee with a great experience is a great cup of coffee. But a great cup of coffee with a bad experience is a bad cup of coffee. I have a coffee shop because of the interaction with people [and] it’s a place to hang out, work, be creative. It’s a place to talk with people, to connect with people, to do great things for the community.

We are a Black-owned business, we employ people of color, and we do a lot of work outside of coffee for those in similar spaces. When the community is supporting us, they’re supporting not just a coffee shop, but somebody who has had challenges, pushed through, and overcame a lot.

You roast and craft coffees from all over the world. How do you decide where to source the coffee from? What does this process look like? 

We carry coffee from around the world based upon the notes of the coffee and what profile we’re trying to achieve. We’ve carried coffee from Indonesia, Mexico, Ethiopia, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica and more. Coffees are harvested at different times of the year, so depending on what season we’re in, I aim to get the freshest and highest quality crops each month.

We also look at what sells the most, and then tie that back to where the coffee originates from. Some of our most popular roasts are from Ethiopia and Peru.

We also look at the producer, their farm, and whether it is fair trade organic. When I started roasting, I tried to figure out where to get green coffee. The middle step is you have large scale distribution importers, and they have warehouses full of green coffee from all over. In that process they’ll have different relationships with different farms and that middle person will communicate with someone like me and ask what I am looking for.

The people that produce the coffee are profiting the least. This is why fair-trade organic is so important. People that are harvesting the coffee get paid very little to produce.

Ultimately, I want to go to different countries and work with small farms and invest in their farms myself – take the capital that I have here and invest in people over there and the product that I love. I think one of the most rewarding sides of being a coffee roaster is potentially getting to connect with people who have their hands in the dirt to produce the product.

Your website has weekly events listed. What led you to host weekly events at the coffee shop, and how have they impacted your relationship with the local community? 

As we are an early storefront, we don’t know exactly what’s going to work for events. The community really supports the fact that our coffee shop is a little bit different because we have a place that is community centered.

One of the events that we offer is chess. I grew up in a neighborhood where not many of my peers played chess, and not many people that looked like me played chess. As a kid, I was put into a school outside of my neighborhood, and at this school, they put me in different sports and extracurricular activities – including chess. I realized if I had been in my original school, I would’ve never had these opportunities. At the coffee shop, I wanted to provide a place where chess was available for everyone and especially for people that look like me.

Our community that we have coming to the coffee shop is very diverse. I think being open to what makes people comfortable, giving them the opportunity to do what they enjoy and promoting people being the best versions of themselves is super important. I think people want a place where they don’t have to fit a specific box.

To learn more about Woodstock Coffee Company, visit

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