Coffee roaster, upgrades coming to Grown N’ Gathered

QUINCY — Grown N’ Gathered will soon house the only coffee roaster in a 100-mile radius.

Electric Fountain Brewing is the passion project of Ryan Christian, better known as the musician Cheeks McGee.

“I’ve been wanting to do the coffee thing for a while,” Christian said. “I started roasting as a hobby, on a popcorn popper actually. I gave it out to my friends, and they seemed to like it.”

After two years of research, Christian obtained a supplier of fair-trade, single-origin, organic green coffee beans from Indonesia, Peru and Guatemala. All beans are grown without pesticides on small farms and harvested by hand. Christian buys the beans for three times as much as some national coffee chains because a third of the money is spent on education for the farmers’ families.

“We can all do something,” said Christian’s girlfriend, Michele Wilkerson, who owns Grown N’ Gathered at 601 Maine. “There is a very conscious consumer who wants to do more in Quincy. (We are) giving them that option, to take their health, their ability to change things to the next level.”

Christian said he uses two small roasters to roast a pound of beans every hour. When Electric Fountain Brewing opens in May, he will have a commercial roaster capable of handling 8 pounds every 15 minutes. The in-house Electric Fountain coffee bar will use a pour-over method, which is said to extract the flavor of the coffee. Christian also ships his coffee directly to the customer through online purchases.

“The closest roaster is in St. Louis,” Christian said. “They are popping up all over the place, but in our area, there is not a lot happening.”

The coffee shop will have an all-glass garage door, a growing trend in the restaurant industry that merges the indoors with the outdoors.

“It will be an open-air space that’s not already in downtown Quincy,” Wilkerson said. “There will be tons of open-air light, and on days when it’s nice, we can crank it open and just sit out there.”

Wilkerson said Electric Fountain will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., covering the 2 to 7 p.m. time slot downtown, during which many other coffee shops are closed.

“Being healthy, or even a health-conscious person, is not a lot of work. We’re really just bringing everybody a landing pad to come here, drink organic coffee and have access to all the big-city items,” Wilkerson said.

Electric Fountain Brewing is one of many upgrades Grown N’ Gathered will see in May. Patio and kitchen areas are being built. Two two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments and one one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment are being carved out above the store.

Christian hopes the addition of a stage brings a sense of community to the business. He said there will be seating for about 40 patrons inside and more on the patio.

“I want to use it as a listening room, where it’s not just background music,” he said. “A place for younger people to come that’s not a bar. A place that brings all sorts of different people together.

Along with the yoga studio, which opened in January, Wilkerson hopes to turn her business into a holistic destination. She thinks the expansions will increase foot traffic downtown and provide a larger benefit overall.

“Each new resident spends about $15,000 in their immediate neighborhood. It could bring a whole new clientele downtown,” Wilkerson said. “This energizes both of us to the point that it is really contagious to the consumers.”