Jimmy Bellew- Idle Hour Coffee Roasters

It was an absolute pleasure meeting with the owner of one of my favorite coffee shops in Raleigh!

Despite being a NC native, Jimmy Bellew traveled to Philadelphia to study art and took a barista job on the side. Little did he know that he would fall in love with the world of coffee. “I had never even wanted to be a manager, I’d been offered positions of power before and turned them down,” Bellew said, but when the coffee shop he worked for in Philly was bought out he found himself asking if he could buy the espresso machine. “When the owner said sure, I just kind’ve started asking: what about this? And this too? I ended up buying basically enough professional equipment for a small shop for extremely cheap. I loaded it all up in a Uhaul and moved back to NC,” Bellew stated. This is how his new dream was born.

“It took about 2.5 years to get everything together. Finding the perfect location, securing funding, making sure all my ducks were in a row to start a business,” said Bellew, “I got the key to the shop in April of 2020…and then everything shut down.” The Covid shutdown in 2020 hurt many businesses, but Bellew didn’t give up. He spent those 6months building his shop, literally from the ground up. He was able to focus on details most owners don’t get the time to adjust before they open and he was able to learn about the community he’d moved into. “When we did open, the community made it a point to come to the shop. I had gotten to know a lot of the locals while I was in the process of building, and all of the employees were from the community as well. The support really made a difference and kept us afloat,” Bellew said.

Idle Hour Coffee Roasters has continued to maintain traction in the community. Located right of Oberlin road they have many business professionals and college students that visit daily. You get a feeling of companionship there, it especially helps that almost all the staff is original from their opening in 2020. I asked Bellew how he managed to maintain staff when everyone else seems to be dealing with shortages, he responded “We have a very open and honest community here. I came from a big shop that didn’t value my opinion and I saw a lot go wrong from simply not listening to employees. I’m not just the owner, I’m a barista here too and almost like another coworker, there’s a mutual respect there.” Bellew puts his profits right back into the business, focusing a lot on training.

Jimmy Bellew’s goal isn’t just to run a business in Raleigh, it’s to elevate coffee in general. North Carolina is not known for it’s coffee, bellew didn’t realize how good it could be until he moved to Philadelphia. His goal is to change that, he wants to work with other shop owners and roasters and elevate the way we enjoy coffee. While this may sound like something any coffee shop owner may say…Go try a coffee at Idle Hour and see what he means. Maybe you’ll see me there on your visit.

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