Coffee is community: Hanover shop flourishes after moving from tiny trailer

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Jordan Britton rises with the sun.

For the owner of Hanover-based Britton Coffee Co., it comes with the territory.

As Britton and his staff of baristas get ready for another day, the sounds of coffee brewing and the smell of cinnamon sugar float through the front door.

While reruns of Bob Ross painting vivid landscapes play on a large flat-screen, Britton grabs a remote to start pumping music through loudspeakers on a refrigerator.

By 5:15 a.m., the first cars line up for early morning brews and fresh doughnuts.

"We knew we wanted to be more involved in the community, and as we started exploring different options, we realized coffee is one way you can be in a lot of people's lives pretty much every day," Britton said. "It's just a very interesting, unique relationship. We've laughed with people. We've cried with people."

Britton Coffee Co. started 18 months ago — born out of a tiny drive-thru trailer.

Three months after starting, with plenty of customers eager to grab their daily coffee, Britton knew he had outgrown the space.

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Britton Coffee Co., now at 2633 Baltimore Pike, has existed in its current space for over a year.

"I can name probably at this moment anywhere from 50 to 100 customers that I see at least several times a week," Britton said. "And if I don't know their first and last name, I definitely know their coffee order."

Britton Coffee Co. in West Manheim Township, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Although it has a menu chock-full of hot and cold coffee brews, Britton Coffee Co. is most famous for its house-made doughnuts.

With much trial and error in the beginning, Britton Coffee's doughnuts were initially made in an off-site kitchen and driven to the building for sale.

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Last year, Britton undertook a new project to renovate a commercial kitchen and make the doughnuts himself.

From right, barista Hannah DeCampo serves Kelly Ebner Miller, of Penn Township, and her 2-year-old chihuahua whippet, Scooter, through the drive thru window at Britton Coffee Co. in West Manheim Township, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Now, his latest endeavor will bring breakfast sandwiches and other snacks to the ever-growing menu.

"I really like progress," Britton said. "That's just my personality — I like to start something and see it progress over time."

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With community at the heart of his business, Britton early on enlisted the help of local elementary schools to decorate the shop's coffee sleeves.

Taylor Petrick, of Manchester Township, draws on her cup holder at Britton Coffee Co. in West Manheim Township, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

All drinks come with a decorated sleeve handcrafted by schoolchildren, featuring wholesome messages and rainbows drawn with big, chunky markers.

Markers are also placed throughout the store, encouraging customers to design their own sleeves.

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"We always try to be the hardest-working people in the room," Britton said. "But at the same time, we also are absurdly silly and we just have a lot of fun. So if I'm in charge, we're going to have a lot of fun because otherwise I won't do it."