TipTop coffee and wine bar in Thomas does not just sell equitably sourced coffee - or locally baked goods, or real fruit smoothies or craft beer, liquor and wine, for that matter - it sells an experience.
Perhaps, that is why it is quickly becoming one of the most talked about new businesses in the region, and why its young owner, Cade Archuleta, was named this spring the Business Person of the Year by the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce.
"In the world of cookie-cutter stores, I think people want more from their products. They want to have a connection to they're consuming," Archuleta said. "At TipTop, we try to attach all of our products to stories, we try to keep them connected to where they are from."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Hoover
Customers wait for their orders recently at TipTop coffee and wine bar in Thomas. It’s owned by Cade Archuleta, who was named this spring the Business Person of the Year by the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce.
For example, Archuleta said all of the shop's coffee is purchased from a small Brooklyn, N.Y., roaster called Forty Weight Coffee, which purchases raw beans from small farms and co-ops around the world.
"Usually these farms are very small and owned by a single family, so it is hard for them to produce enough pounds of coffee on their own to make a profit, so they join a co-op.
"Forty Weight also sends us micro-lot coffees - coffee selected from the best portion of a farm's yield," Archuleta said.
"We always have three single-source coffees, as well as our signature blend. But, to keep things interesting, we switch out our single-source coffees every couple weeks. So, our customers can keep coming back and trying new coffees," he continued. "We always have descriptions of the coffees, too, so we can tell our customers where their coffee is from and what it will taste like."
Similarly, TipTop carries a selection of unique top-shelf liquor purchased from small-batch distillers, such as what might be the world's only blue-corn whiskey, from Texas, or vodka distilled by Boyd and Blair in Pittsburgh from their own potatoes.
The shop also offers an array of foods, from locally baked goods to its famous local burger, served on Fridays, and made with beef from West Virginia and served on locally baked buns.
Archuleta said he does his best to keep prices reasonable.
"We wanted to create a place where everyone can come," Archuleta said. "I think when it comes down to it, we just want good food and drinks.
"TipTop is just continuing the local tradition of farm to table sustenance. People here in West Virginia have been doing the 'local' thing forever. It doesn't have to be exotic, or expensive and we try to carry something for everyone."
Archuleta and his staff must be doing something right, since both tourists and locals keep going back.
"It's been a wonderful experience developing TipTop; everyone has been so supportive. We have been able to do so many awesome things," he said. "We've got a lot more planned, though. We're not going to stop any time soon."