44 North Coffee

Megan and Melissa

Ten years ago, Megan Wood and Melissa Raftery began looking into a way to help support their local community on the peaceful Deer Isle in Maine’s mid-coast region. Both avid coffee-drinkers, Wood and Raftery settled on the idea of a local coffee roastery and café, called 44 North Coffee.

Starting a business in a rural area is no easy feat, especially in a part of the state that experiences an ebb and flow of business based on the season. With Deer Isle’s tightly knit community, the café and roastery took hold and has become a staple on the island. Helping the local economy and creating jobs for the community have allowed them to open a second location.

44 North’s Stonington location

The very nature of working with coffee has allowed Wood and Raftery to create meaningful and powerful connections with people all over the world. “We are in constant contact with farmers, exporters, importers, warehouse managers, freight companies, other roasters, supermarkets, mom and pop stores, individual customers and of course each other and our staff. Creating and nurturing these relationships is what makes 44 North rewarding and exciting,” Wood states.

In addition to beautiful and cozy cafés, 44 North also supports an impressive and expansive website from which one can order their freshly roasted coffee, and a wide variety of “Coffee Gear” brewing tools as well as granola, stickers and clothes, and mugs.

Above the Stonington location, is the “Coffee Loft” apartment, which one can rent for a period of time to indulge in the rustic beauty of Deer Isle. With room for four guests, the Coffee Loft has all the amenities that one could need when staying, with quick access to the café below for a bite to eat or robust cup of coffee.

Certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), 44 North also purchases fair-trade coffee beans. Customers can feel good about knowing that the coffee they are enjoying is ethically sourced and organic.

Outside of 44 North

In 2020 the novel coronavirus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has caused many small businesses to struggle with closures and restrictions on some services. 44 North Coffee remains in business, still delivering and distributing their coffee to cafés and people across the country. They are currently offering call-ahead pickups as well.

“We are fortunate to have 10 years in our business and the ability to look back and see how things have ebbed and flowed over that time,” Wood and Raftery state in response to what advice they might give to other businesses that may be going through hard times. “Our advice would be to think innovatively outside the box, view your product or business through a new lens. If you are a brick and mortar business, see if you could start an online shop. Also stay in contact with advisers or other businesses you trust, for instance your accountant or a business friend you could collaborate [with].”

Check out 44 North Coffee’s website here and their Facebook or Instagram profiles.

Address: 7 Main Street, Deer Isle, ME, 04627

Phone: 207-348-5208

~Aaron Stymiest, Undiscovered Maine Project

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