Even after nearly twenty years in the business, TJ Fairchild, owner of Commonplace Coffee, still gets a twinkle in his eye when talking about the role that coffeehouses play in our society. In this episode, he talks about the importance of coffee culture and the evolution of his company with a level of humility and candor that’s refreshing and inspiring. And if there’s one thing that TJ makes perfectly clear, it’s that relationships and human interaction are at the center of everything that he does.
Ask anyone in the Pittsburgh coffee scene about TJ Fairchild and the words “local coffee legend” quickly follow. In the early 2000s, TJ’s company, Commonplace Coffee, was an early pioneer in the third wave coffee movement here in western Pennsylvania. As he described the origins of his business and the roots of his love for coffee, I was struck by his sincerity, modesty, and introspective nature. While TJ recounted his journey, I was amazed at the level of serendipity involved in almost every major aspect of his business. The current form that Commonplace Coffee takes today is clearly the result of a rare amount of organic and spontaneous growth. But what surprised me the most about our time together is how I instantly felt like I was talking to an old friend. It’s easy to see why people who know TJ describe him as likeable and generous. During our conversation, he reflected on his business with the clarity and wisdom that only comes from years of honing one’s craft and observing one’s industry. Whether it’s leading the way in specialty coffee roasting or providing comfortable gathering places in our neighborhoods, Commonplace Coffee has played an important role in shaping the coffee landscape of our region.
If you have any questions or if you’d like to chat, you can reach me at my contact info below. The purpose of this podcast is to share ideas, inspire action, and build a stronger small business community here in Pittsburgh. So please say hello, tell me what you think, and let me know how I’m doing. It means a ton!
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