Crowfoot Valley Coffee: In the Spotlight
Jason Gray practically bleeds caffeine. He’s the owner of the celebrated Crowfoot Valley Coffee shop in Castle Rock and has been in the coffee biz since he was a teenager – almost 30 years.
“I started out working for Starbucks in Seattle at their main roasting facility. I did that through college and then got another coffee job in Alaska for 10 years,” Jason says. He opened Crowfoot Valley Coffee in January of 1999 and says he still loves what he does.
“I still enjoy it,” he says, “and I’m super fortunate to own my own business. We open at 5:00 a.m. and I’m off before 3:00 p.m. – before most parents are – which is great for my kids.”
His two sons, Aidan, 17, and Keagan, 15, both work part-time at the shop and have since age 14. His wife Kathryn has been part of the business since before it opened, and helps part-time, too, juggling teaching duties and a marathon training schedule.
CHOOSING CASTLE ROCK
The Grays scouted Denver and surrounding locales “pretty methodically” trying to find a growing city where they could engage with the community. They considered Evergreen and Golden but chose Castle Rock, instead.
“We might have made more money in Denver, but I’m really happy with where we ended up,” Jason says. “When we opened in 1999 there were 14,000 people in this town. Today, there are just over 60,000. I guess we read the tea leaves!”
Crowfoot Valley Coffee was so-named after Jason looked at a map of the area and found a valley called Crowfoot between Castle Rock and Parker. “I wanted something local and was trying to find a landmark; a river, a stream something that looked interesting,” he says.
Many Crowfoot customers are long-standing regulars and even the employees are long-term associates. “My average employee’s been with me for seven years. For the coffee industry, that’s unheard of – the average is 14 months,” Jason says.
FROM COFFEE CROP TO STEAMING CUP
And when it comes to roasting and brewing, Jason maintains a high standard. “I’m strict about where we get our coffee and how we make our coffee. We get the top 1.5 percent of quality coffees in the world and consider ourselves a boutique roaster.
Crowfoot Coffee comes from 13 different countries and offers 20 different blends. They do some wholesale business, but most of their transactions are retail. In 2010, Jason opened the Crow Bar and started selling alcohol.
“It took me a long time to decide to do it. Starbucks tried it and then rolled it back in all but a few stores. I felt like I did a really good job at one thing and I didn’t want to take something on and not do IT really well, too.”
But Jason thinks because he has the same standard of excellence toward alcohol that he has toward coffee, that’s helped.
“We make sure it’s all top-of-the-line — upper end craft beers and hand-crafted martinis,” he says. The Crow Bar started as a small percentage of the overall business revenue and has grown at a steady and manageable pace. “We’re still primarily a coffee shop,” he says, “but we’re known well enough now that people are taking notice of both sides.”
The Crowfoot Valley Coffee shop and Crow Bar get high marks on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Google reviews, manifesting the company maxim, “From crop to cup, we deliver the best to you.”
Stop in for a cappuccino or latte, a martini or craft beer and a snack from an array of good eats throughout the day. Oh, and ask Jason how his latest novel is coming along!
Crowfoot Valley Coffee and Crow Bar, 734 Wilcox St., Castle Rock
Monday-Thursday, 5:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Friday, 5:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Saturday, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Sunday, 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Close to Crystal Valley
When you live in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley the coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants in downtown Castle Rock are a five-minute drive from your front door. Explore all that the city has to offer, along with the stunning designs from Richmond American Homes, available in ranch or two-story models and priced from the $300s. And, coming soon: New homes from D.R. Horton and Kauffman Homes!