Fort Waynes Modbar revolutionizing coffee shops across the country’
June 3, 2016
Fort Waynes Modbar revolutionizing coffee shops across the country
Nate Bickel | News-Sentinel
When walking into a coffee shop many times customers see bulky machines that clutter the countertops behind the cashier. However, one Fort Wayne business is changing that look for cafes and coffee shops across the country and in the not so distant future, internationally.
Modbar produces modular brewing systems known for designs that place the bulk of their product out of sight under the counter. “It’s a different way of presenting coffee to the customers; it changes the dynamic of a shop,” said Brad Staats, general manager at Modbar.
The company came into existence in 2012 with the help of La Marzocco, an expresso machine company based out of Seattle. “They provided the founders the necessary capital, advice and experience to get Modbar started,” Staats said. He added that although the two companies are separate their partnership has put Modbar in the position it is in and it would not be where it is today without La Marzocco's help.
Since going into full production in 2013 the company as doubled its sales every year. Their systems have been sold from coast to coast in the United States. “New York City is our biggest concentration but the West Coast has also come online," Staats said. Several weeks ago during an interview with The News-Sentinel he said the company was planning to expand into Europe and also to Australia.
Production focuses on three main components: steam machines, expresso machines and pour over machines for each of its systems. Each system is sold for $20,000 on average. “Our prices are competitive to other high-end expresso machine manufacturers,” Staats said.
The company typically produces 15 such units per day although they are hoping to double that number by the end of the year since sales are already nearing capacity through the end of the year.
Modbar currently has 16 employees including two sales representatives: one based in Oregon and the other in Tennessee. The company maintains an employee-centric environment that may resemble a coffee shop within its own right. Employees enjoy coffee made from their own system while listening to music as they work.
“It’s a very laid-back environment. Our employees know what has to be done productionwise and as long as we have a product going out the door we want them to be as comfortable as possible,” Staats said.
“It is a great place to work,” said Josh Ihrie, who has been with the business since early 2015. “We each come to work every day knowing what is expected of us and what needs to get done, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time while we do it,” he added.
Both Staats and Ihrie were also quick to point out that Modbar’s components are all made in the United States. “We get a lot of our components from companies in northeast Indiana and any work done outside of our facility is done relatively close to our location,” Staats said. The company works closely with businesses in Columbia City, Warsaw and Kendallville among other regional cities and towns.
“Nobody does what we do; it’s cool to be part of a company that takes so much pride in what it produces,” Ihrie said.'