Paramour Coffee, a specialty coffee company based in Wamego, has two café shops and also sells artisan coffees wholesale.
Considered the grandfather of speciality coffee, in the 1960’s and 70’s Alfred Peet was at the center of the coffee revolution in the U.S. In the late 1970’s Peet sold the company to Sal Bonavita. It is in the Peet’s tradition that Jim Hovind trained and he considers his coffees to be a tribute to Alfred and Sal.
In the early 80’s, Jim had advertised his services as a handyman in the Bay area of California. Bonavita saw one of the newspaper ads and called Jim up to offer him a job as chauffeur. Amongst other responsibilities, Jim drove Sal around to Peet’s various locations. It turned out to be a formative experience. Through visiting the stores and attending tastings, Jim became interested in roasting. He started in the training program and turned out to be a natural. Doing better as a novice than many of the more experienced roasters, Jim himself eventually became a master roaster. Enjoying learning about coffee and its complexities, he expanded into studying the business side of beans. After Peet’s changed ownership again, Jim worked roasting coffee and conducting tastings for several different companies before taking a break to do other things.
Jim, who had grown up in Kansas City, eventually saw that he had a dream of bringing really great coffee to the Midwest. He realized this vision in the spring of 2012 when he opened Paramour Coffee in downtown Wamego – on the day of the local Tulip Festival.
The shops’ regulars are dedicated to Paramour’s artisan coffees for their outstanding quality and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the cozy café which is filled with the upbeat sounds of jazz music, laughter and conversation that spill over onto the outdoor seating area.
In May of 2017, Paramour opened a second location – this one on the Westside of Manhattan. Located at the Bank of the Flint Hills, it features modern decor, a drive thru and also an outdoor patio.
Branching out increased the need for roasted beans. This necessitated improvements to Paramour’s original building in order to accommodate the longer hours during which Jim was going to be roasting beans for the shops and the wholesale business.
Jim deeply appreciates the love, help and support shown to him by the community. This, he points out, includes the Wamego Area Chamber of Commerce, Pottawatomie County Economic Development and the WU KSBDC for working with him and his bank to put together the funding needed at several stages of the business. Jim says that “working with these people, you just really know that they want to help you succeed.”
Jim’s advice to new business owners: “Strive for excellence in something that you love. Be the best that you can be and enjoy it. You don’t have a chance at success unless you are being your best.” – And Jim follows his own advice. Jim loves talking with customers and reading them to understand their tastes. He loves sourcing the beans, roasting them, blending and developing coffees and he strives for excellence at every step of the process. He says “you have to – it shows in the coffee. It’s the pursuit of excellence, and striving to be the best you can be, that becomes apparent on the tasting table.” (To learn more, watch Love Your Coffee.)
Kudos, Jim, for achieving excellence in your Paramour coffees! We wish you continued success with your business.
Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.
Washburn University KSBDC
America’s SBDC Kansas