The Westfield Voice

The Student News Site of Westfield State University

The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

New Local Flavor is Circuit Coffee


By Alexander Courcier

WESTFIELD — At the intersection of route 202 and route 20, two main roads that connect Westfield to other towns across western Massachusetts, sits a coffee shop with windows across the front and an eye-catching logo that in big, bold lettering spells out Circuit Coffee. This name is accentuated by a single line, waved in the middle above the word circuit, that emphasizes the name and modern style. This is the first impression one gets of Circuit Coffee in Westfield.

The doors swing open and the scent of roasting coffee and delicate pastries wafts through the air, pushing back the cold of December with a comforting embrace.

Standing behind the counter, a young man in his early twenties, a beard of dark chestnut and hair to match, mostly hidden under a Carhart hat. His blue denim apron and flannel shirt give a more relaxed feeling to the shop.

Blue eyes peered out as he takes orders from customers, always polite and accommodating. Hands that showed maps of hard work and dedication pour the locally roasted coffee, maple from Worthington, and steamed milk from Granby into Circuit Coffee’s most popular drink, the Maple Latte.

Customers sit around the welcoming café, seated at reclaimed industrial wire spool tables and counters made from the recently torn down Romani’s bowling alley, slowly sipping on various drinks.

Ted Dobek, a young man with a love for coffee and a dream stood before an empty building in the center of Westfield. Most people saw the empty storefront and thought nothing of it, but Ted knew he found the place to make his dream a reality.

Ted and his wife Jessica shared a dream to open a little coffee shop that supports them, along with the local economy and local business. This dream has manifested itself as Circuit Coffee at 22 Elm street, Westfield.

At Circuit Coffee, not only do they use fresh, local ingredients, they also provide a place for local vendors to sell everything from chocolate, to sunglasses, to candles and beard oils.

When asked why he chose to supply local ingredients and have space for other local products, Ted said “I want to be able to support other people who have similar dreams as me. People who are taking what they love, and finding a way to do it every day and support themselves with it. I want to help build this local economy up”.

Ted and his staff at Circuit make it one of their goals to give customers a memorable and positive experience. “Stopped in this morning on their opening day and was wowed! Not only was my iced mocha made perfectly but the space itself is a breath of fresh air for downtown Westfield. “Amazing!” said Shelly Hazlette in an online review. “My wife and I went to the shop on their opening day, and the atmosphere was very inviting. The customer service was excellent, and the owners made sure I had an awesome experience,” said Jose Rene Roman in another review.

Ted is a graduate of Westfield State and he holds a degree in Geography and Regional Planning. After graduating from Westfield State in 2015 Ted alternated between working in several coffee shops and doing graphic design work.

While working in graphic design, between working at J. Rene Coffee Roasters and West Hartford and Share Coffee in Amherst, Ted found that he wasn’t as happy as he could be. “I really miss being behind the bar” he thought to himself, and this thought was the first step in pushing forward and making his ambitious dream a reality.

Ted spoke to a friend and employer of his, the owner of Share Coffee, Ken Majka who told him “Normally, I would tell people not to go into the coffee business because most people lack experience and passion, but you have both, I say go for it.”

Ted began to take steps to open his own coffee shop — getting supplies, finding vendors and suppliers, buying the furniture and most importantly, looking for a place. Being the savvy young man with an eye for design and location, Ted decided that Westfield would be a great place.

He felt that he wanted to bring good coffee to the Westfield and Springfield area because of the lack of good coffee around. This is when Ted found out that Westfield was investing in small businesses, hoping to help the local economy grow.

The owner of 22 Elm Street met with Ted and decided to allow him to lease the property for his coffee shop, and that’s when the real work began. While getting the shop ready for business, Ted and his wife Jessica moved into the apartment above the shop, both of them committed to making this dream a reality.

As opening day was coming near, phone calls began to come in, inquiring about hours and days that the shop would be open, before it officially opened their doors for business. Ted attributes this to a growing social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.

Along the way, Ted’s dream of a more industrial style for the interior changed as he continued to refurbish the inside, noticing the molding on the ceilings and how much light the open front allowed. Seeing these take shape moved the initial design over to something classier than the initial industrial feel they were looking for.

As opening day approached, nerves were high and tragedy struck at the worst time. Just as business was getting started, the main coffee grinder gave out which left Ted, Jessica, and their staff with the backup grinder, a heavy, slower, and louder model.

Projections for the first weekend were supposed to be slow, but that was not the case. The morning was slow, a few people waiting outside for opening, a few more as the early morning hours passed by. To Ted and everyone else’s surprise, at 9 o’clock the line began to grow, and grow until there was standing room only.

With Ted and Jessica running the counter and Ted’s brother baking, there was no time to train staff. Ted just had to hope they’d learn on the fly. Coffee went fast, people stuck around, enjoying the little café to the fullest as orders flew off the counter from 9 until 1 o’clock when it slowed to a more manageable pace.

The old grinder held out and the new staff took it all in stride. By the end of the day Ted and his staff couldn’t believe it, they had gone through all of their coffee, and all of their maple. Their signature drink, the Maple Latte seemed to be a success, so much so that Ted had to get some emergency supplies from his contacts.

This consistent business speed held up all week. Ted and Jessica would come down to their shop at 5am and go back up to rest around 8pm, and by the end of it all, Ted and Jessica could see that this venture was more successful than they thought. At this point, the Coffee shop has blown its original, best-case projections away by almost 100%, and continues to do so as the months pass by, says Ted.

Ted says that his ultimate goal in this venture is to make enough money to support his family, and to be able to wake up every day and look forward to going to work. He hopes to one day make enough money to buy a little house with an orchard where they can grow lavender.

Ted and Jessica hope to one day be pillars in the community, to be able to supply great coffee for the Westfield and Springfield areas while still remaining hands-on in the shop.

The staff at Circuit Coffee need to be able to bring something of their own to the business, says Ted. They need to be invested in the shop so their passion can show in their work.

Ted shared his advice in regards to what he would tell someone else who wants to follow their own dreams, saying “If you follow your passions, and you love what you do, you won’t be burnt out at the end of the week. What do you love to do? Find a way to make that love, that passion your profession.”

Donate to The Westfield Voice

Your donation will support the student journalists of Westfield State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Westfield Voice