The Coffee Cart Gateway: Levy Moroshan and Industrial Coffee Company
Industrial Coffee Company was founded by Levy Moroshan in Portland, Oregon, and recently relocated to Nampa, Idaho. The team includes Levy’s wife Christina, in charge of coffee cart operations and supply; Liz Mangeac, who assists Levy with local deliveries; and Dave Mangeac, who’s a full-time support in the roastery as well as at popup events.
Setting the Scene
Since the late 1990s, Ley Moroshan has run a commercial photography business, a business that originated in Portland, Oregon. His wife, Christina, is a registered nurse.
Because their jobs often took them apart, in the mid-2010s they began searching for a side hustle that they could enjoy together. They decided their shared interest in craft coffee would be the best option to pursue, especially since they wanted a business that could grow through an expansion of a team, rather than one that increasingly encroached on their limited free time.
“We wanted to start small, and build more of a product than a service,” Levy says.
The Way Up
For half a year, Levy planned out the future operation and took the time to familiarize himself with roasting. He talked with his friend, Todd Edwards, who owns and operates Ole Latte in Portland, to get a sense of the craft coffee landscape. Todd runs Ole Latte out of three coffee trailers, and rents time on a roaster at a cooperative to meet demand. For Levy, who didn’t know what to expect going in, the help was invaluable.
Industrial Coffee Company launched in 2016. Initially, the team focused on wholesale relationships with restaurants and coffee shops in Portland. They started on a Diedrich.
“We might have gone into it thinking it was easier than it was,” Levy says. The roasting process involved more nuance and variables than he realized, and the Diedrich didn’t have the kind of control that Levy was looking for.
In 2021, the team decided to move to Nampa, Idaho. The roastery moved to a detached garage, making it easy to get up and get right to work.
When they landed, Levy’s brother- and sister-in-law contacted them about possibly becoming involved in the business. The brother-in-law, Dave Mangeac, spent a decade working in a franchise department, and came to Levy with the know-how and interest in potentially franchising Industrial Coffee Co.
Both Levy and Christina were intrigued by the idea, especially because it would allow them to stay true to their original plan of a business that could run and expand without consuming their professional lives.
In order to make the franchisement happen, Levy and Christina purchased and built out a coffee cart in 2022. Depending on the cart’s success in Nampa, they planned to use it as the basis for a mobile model that could be cut and pasted in the hands of different franchisers, starting with Dave and his wife Liz.
The move also marked another change for the company: they invested in an MCR-1. The switch was easier than expected: there were no yearlong wait times to get the machine, and the increased control over gas and airflow helped Levy make needed adjustments to his roasts.
With his personal goal of keeping tight control of the quality of the coffee, the MCR-1 proved the perfect machine for him. Because he is so dialed into the roasts, he can keep his nose to the ground and keep ahead of any problems that might arise. That control has helped him facilitate Industrial’s growth.
Levy also credits the brand’s initial success in Nampa to their roots in Portland, where there was much steeper competition for wholesale accounts and new customers. Despite the difference in city demographics and population, Industrial Coffee Company has already begun the process of seeking out new wholesale partners. Levy anticipates that their coffee cart will segue the company into a new era with more partners, a wider variety of customers, and more opportunity in their menu structure.
The Industrial Coffee Company Menu
The Industrial Coffee Company menu includes three roasts: Hilda’s House, a single origin Peru; Wrench, a single origin Costa Rica, the company’s bestseller; and Bent Level, a decaf Colombia. Each coffee comes as a medium roast, with a dark roast option, called Overtime, available on the website.
In the beginning, Levy sourced through Royal Coffee, because on restock days he could drive to Seattle to pick up his order. They switched to Cafe Imports after the move; now they use both Cafe Imports and La Bodega, for their smaller bag sizes.
With all the changes that have happened this year, Industrial Coffee Co has begun to feel like a whole different company with its new business partners, market, and roastery. The coffee menu itself is one way that Levy has worked to keep some consistency between the brand they were in Portland and the brand they are in Nampa.
In both cities, medium and dark roasts consistently outsold lights. That is a fact that Levy has relied on, because that consistency has been key to maintaining customer relationships across state lines. Levy doesn’t want old customers feeling alienated by sudden changes in roast profiles or menu offerings, and he doesn’t want to bring a menu to Nampa that won’t sell. So he’s kept the same lineup and focused his efforts on landing that lineup in local cafes.
In that effort, being a small roastery has benefitted him. He can go to cafes with his grinder and a Chemex, and demonstrate to the potential partner exactly why they should consider his coffee: it’s high quality.
The roastery’s small size also means adaptability. They have a tight turn radius; when big changes, like an interstate move, happen, it’s easy to evolve because the chain of command is so small. And with the direction of the company moving towards franchisement, Levy is hopeful that aspect of the company will last even as it grows, allowing him to focus on the aspect of the business he loves the most: the coffee.
With the success of the coffee cart, franchise expansion is on the horizon for Industrial Coffee Co. A second cart could join the first in Nampa, and Levy anticipates that he might even supply franchisers out of state long-term.
In the short-term, the company’s focus is on nailing down new wholesale accounts in the Treasure Valley area. Levy foresees the company founding a brick and mortar headquarters in Nampa, where they can personify the industrial aesthetic of the brand and also create a space dedicated to roasting as well as planning the operation’s expansion.
Levy will also use Industrial Coffee Company’s new city as an opportunity to get creative with the company’s branding and marketing, ultimately finding new ways to incentivize customers to come over to the Industrial side.
Bring Industrial Coffee Company Home
You can buy any of the Industrial coffees from their website, where you can also read the Industrial Coffee Company journal, a craft coffee blog. You can also follow them on Facebook or Instagram to keep updated with the company’s goings-on in Nampa, as well as any upcoming changes or product drops.