BOONE — With the help of Ransom Pub, Bald Guy Brew is making its way back to King Street to serve not only the Boone community, but also communities across the globe.
The opportunity came after Ransom owner Doc Hendley, along with managing partner Todd Hendley, approached Bald Guy Brew’s owner Don Cox with ideas for a partnership. After some discussion, the two owners realized the partnership’s potential.
“I needed a win, to be honest,” Cox said.
After losing much of his coffee operation in the Valle Landing fire of 2016, the future of Bald Guy Brew was uncertain. Still, Cox remained positive.
“As a father of two young boys, you can’t fall apart just because you lost a bunch of stuff,” Cox said.
After the fire, Cox focused on teaching coffee roasting and sensory evaluation at his own specialty coffee premier campus and at Appalachian State University — while never losing sight of his passion for coffee.
Meanwhile, Doc Hendley, who also founded the Boone-based nonprofit Wine to Water, opened Ransom two years ago with the goal of providing a place for everyone in the community to come and enjoy food, coffee or a spirited drink of choice.
Hendley explained that Hatchet Coffee helped in sourcing the equipment for the coffee bar and provided direction for Ransom on how to get started. Despite the help, the coffee component struggled to reach its potential.
“Our lane is the bar. It’s the restaurant, and it’s the nightlife,” Todd Hendley said. “We were trying to also do coffee, but we weren’t experts.”
It wasn’t until Doc Hendley found himself drinking a cup of Bald Guy Brew coffee at Horton Hotel a few months ago that he realized the opportunity.
“I didn’t really know what had been going on with (Cox) after the fire,” Hendley said. Hendley then reached out, discovered that Cox was looking for a way to rebuild his business and asked if he would be interested in taking over the coffee program as Bald Guy Brew on King Street.
Now, the two separate businesses will operate under the same roof, with Bald Guy Brew on King Street donating 10 percent of its proceeds to Wine to Water.
“It’s not now just a use of name and face like it was down the street at the Bead Box,” Cox explained, referencing the old location on King Street. “It’s actually me and my staff, and our expectations for excellence and customer service.”
Hendley and Cox both noted the potential for collaboration between Wine to Water and Bald Guy Brew in coffee-growing communities around the globe, considering the nonprofit’s work in areas such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
“We really feel that we line up on our core values of what we want to see happen both locally and globally,” Cox said. “We want to empower coffee-growing communities as opposed to exploiting (them).”
Cox said that he intends to empower these communities through a focused approach of integrating profitability and sustainability into the purchasing contract.
Ransom and Bald Guy Brew on King Street will be holding a launch party on July 4 to celebrate the new partnership.
“I feel like we’ve been given a new lease on life as a business,” Cox said.