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July 24, 2018

Entrepreneurs start coffee-roasting business on Monhegan

Courtesy / Monhegan Coffee Roasters Carley Mayhew and Mott Feibusch are the co-owners of Monhegan Coffee Roasters, which began production of its coffee on the island in late June.

Year-round Monhegan Island residents Carley Mayhew and Mott Feibusch started production at Monhegan Coffee Roasters in June, adding a new business to the island's economy.

Feibusch and Mayhew told the Lincoln County News that starting a business on the island presented unique challenges, including the cost and supply of propane and the logistics of bringing supplies onto the island. 

“The online sales will be vital to our business in the wintertime,” Feibusch told the newspaper.

According to the company’s website, Monhegan Coffee Roasters began in 2017.

The company shares space with La Nef Chocolate on the first floor of John and Winnie Murdock’s Fish & Maine building at 225 Monhegan Ave., the newspaper reported. Bags of its whole coffee beans are available at three locations on the island — L. Brackett and Son, Monhegan Brewing Co., and the Barnacle Cafe — as well as on the business’s website. 

Feibusch is a lifelong summer resident of Monhegan and wanted to move to Monhegan year-round. He met Mayhew while attending art school in Philadelphia, brought her to the island in 2013 and they moved there full-time in 2015.

Mayhew became the postmaster while Feibusch worked odd carpentry jobs, became a helping hand at the power station, and held various positions for the town over the next few years. Mayhew also owns her own business doing upholstery and making wooden objects, working directly with clients and selling at several retail locations.

Their love for specialty coffees helped fuel Monhegan Coffee Roasters, with help from The Island Institute, Monhegan Brewing Co., The Barnacle Café and La Nef chocolate. 

Diversifying the island's economy

Monhegan, located 12 miles out to sea, is one of Maine’s 15 year-round islands.

Coffee is not the only unusual business out there. Monhegan is also home to Monhegan Brewing Co., launched in 2013 by Matt and Mary Weber with assistance from Mary's father, Danny McGovern, who started Lake St. George Brewing Co. in the mid-1990s.

Interviewed by Mainebiz in 2014, Mary said operating on Monhegan can be a challenge, due to hauling supplied needed to make beer. "But it's not something we didn't expect — because we live here,” she said.

Bill Boynton, co-owner of the Lupine Gallery with his wife, Jackie Boegel, told Mainebiz at that time that the Webers' micro-brewery was another example of how islanders are finding unique ways to meet the challenge of making a living on an outer island community.

"It makes a huge difference to two people," he said of their venture. "And two people make a huge difference to the island."

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