Specialty coffee roaster finds new home in Petaluma

In addition to poultry, dairy and beer, Petaluma is adding coffee to its growing menu of locally produced specialty foods.

Eco-Delight Coffee is bringing its corporate headquarters and roasting facility to a southeast Petaluma business park, moving from its Suisun City offices.

The 3-year-old coffee import and distribution company will join Petaluma Coffee & Tea Company, a small roastery in the city's Foundry Wharf area, and Mountanos Family Coffee & Tea, which is moving its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Petaluma.

Eco-Delight co-founders Guillermo Moran and Rodolfo Bendig, both natives of Central America, were attracted to Petaluma's burgeoning reputation as a niche food industry hub. Moran said he is hoping to "find synergy" with food purveyors in Petaluma and throughout the county.

"We chose California because we believe Californians are great lovers of high-quality food products, especially Northern Californians," Moran said. "If something does well in California it goes all over the country."

Eco-Delight has outgrown its 1,300-square-foot Solano County site, so Moran began looking for another logistically well-situated site with more room.

Moran's business consultant, Valerie Navarro of Living Elements, worked with Petaluma Economic Development Manager Ingrid Alverde, who courts potential businesses to move in hopes of increasing local economic activity.

By June, the comforting smell of coffee may soon be wafting through the Lakeville Business Park on Corporate Circle, where Eco-Delight has leased 8,500 square feet of office space several doors down from Amy's Kitchen offices. The company will have seven employees to start, possibly more later, Moran said.

The company's philosophy is "from our trees to your cup, always freshly roasted," Moran said. In that spirit, the company controls the entire production chain of its beans, from family-owned coffee farms in Central America to the milling and roasting machinery owned by Bendig.

That gives it several advantages, he said. Eco-Delight knows where its beans come from and how they are grown; it provides stability to the farms, which in turn protect migratory bird habitats and other fauna on the land; it sustains farm workers' jobs in Central America, providing them with a stable lifestyle in their home countries; and it cuts out middlemen who erode profits.

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