In a world with a coffee shop on nearly every streetcorner, two Gilbert businessmen say they've found an unusual niche their competitors aren't filling.
The owners of Bergie's Coffee Roast House - two brothers named Bruce and Brian Bergeson - roast their beans on site. Most other cafés have their beans delivered. The result is a coffee that's discernibly much fresher than the typical grind, said John Patterson, a loyal customer who frequents Bergie's at least three times a week.
"Their coffee is the best coffee in the Valley," Patterson said, adding that the coffee is much mellower than the kind he's had at larger chains, which he described as bitter-tasting.
Bergie's opened in January at Page Avenue and Gilbert Road.
The Bergesons, who operate their café by themselves, said they work about 65 to 70 hours a week to keep the business functioning.
"I expected it (the long hours); I just didn't expect I'd get so tired," Bruce Bergeson joked while eating his lunch at the back of the shop.
Bergie's, which was named after the family nickname, is downtown Gilbert's only coffee shop. It's inside an old 900-square-foot house next to Joe's Real BBQ.
"I don't know exactly how old (the house is), but it's in the 80s," Brian Bergeson said.
The shop has the feel of an elfin cottage, with a ceiling that's about 7 feet tall at the entrance. The rooms in the home have been converted into customer areas where people can relax, hold work meetings or surf the Web on their laptop computers using the shop's free wireless internet service.
"Its cozy," Brian Bergeson said. "Its' a cute little place."
The shop has a courtyard near the front entrance with plants, running water and tables with umbrellas.
"It's just a beautiful setting," Patterson said. "It makes a nice little environment for a coffee house."
The Bergesons also roast coffee for restaurants around the Valley. Brian Bergeson said sales from the coffee shop and restaurant are roughly equal. He added that he hopes to expand the number of restaurants he serves, which is currently just three.
Liz Noe, a manager at Oregano's Pizza Bistro, which is across the street from Bergie's, said the café is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, which had lacked a coffee shop.
Noe said the independently owned café adds to the small-town charm of Gilbert's downtown.
"I think it's important to have something that's not Starbucks," she said.