- Staying true to his no-debt ethos, Jordan Britton has grown Britton Coffee Co from a trailer into what will be a multi-location business.
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A former bank in McSherrystown is being transformed into Hanover-based Britton Coffee Co.’s second location. With only two years in business under his belt, founder Jordan Britton is defying convention by building a multi-location coffee shop company without taking on debt.
“Our big ethos is we don’t carry debt personally on our house and our cars and our businesses,” Jordan says.
Building a multi-location coffee shop business without incurring debt meant that the 29-year-old father of four had to start small.
From pastor to coffee entrepreneur
Before venturing into the world of coffee, Jordan spent seven years as an executive pastor in Philadelphia, overseeing various functions of a church. Budgeting, graphic design, renovation, interior design, and managing teams all became part of his skill set.
Unsuspectingly, Jordan was honing skills that played a vital role in the creation of Britton Coffee Co.
When Jordan left his position as pastor in October 2019 and moved to Hanover, he found himself unsure what the next chapter of life would hold. Jordan and wife Izetta began dreaming while Jordan took on construction contracts to help pay the bills.
Jordan frequently returned to Philadelphia for construction jobs. On his way, he would drive past an abandoned gas station on Baltimore Pike in south Hanover as he lamented there not being a drive-through coffee shop along his route.
He began planning to change that. There was only one problem: He didn’t have the necessary money and refused to take on debt. So Jordan purchased a trailer for $1,000 with the cash from his construction work and renovated it into a drive-through coffee shop.
Facing setbacks, pushing forward
In spring 2021, the Britton Coffee Co. trailer, parked outside the derelict gas station Jordan had driven past, opened for business. A few hours into the first day, the water pipes froze and the espresso machine broke, forcing Jordan to close early.
It was only the first in a series of setbacks that opened Jordan’s eyes to a new realization: He needed a brick-and-mortar location, pronto. Otherwise, he’d be forced to lay off his baristas and close up shop once winter arrived.
The owner of the former gas station was more than happy to help make Jason’s dream a reality.
“I brought my wife through here and looked in the building one day, and she had a little more foresight than I did, and she was like, ‘We got to get in this building,’” Jordan says.
They leased the building, and with an eight-week renovation window and baby No. 4 newly born, Jordan got to work, doing the bulk of the renovation himself with the help of construction-company-turned-coffee-shop-cohort Jason Hollenbeck.
In November 2021, Jordan opened Britton Coffee Co.’s permanent location. While the drive-through remains a key component of the business, the bright, inviting indoor space offered Jordan and his team an opportunity to build a deeper connection with customers.
Jordan also began expanding Britton’s offerings, delving into doughnuts in 2022 and breakfast sandwiches in 2023.
Facing setbacks, pushing forward
Britton Coffee Co.’s second location, which will be operated and partially owned by Jason, is to open in neighboring McSherrystown in the fall, with the hope that more locations will follow.
Per Jordan’s modus operandi, whatever comes next will be built debt-free with a relationship-centric approach.
“We believe generous people always have enough,” Jordan says, “so we try to be really, really generous with the way that we lead ourselves, the way we carry ourselves in the community and just personally.”