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Coffee shop helps disabled residents, Peruvian artists

FREDERICK — Serina Roy’s hobby turned into a business and her new location allows her to offer more to customers.

Roy, a former CPA and Frederick City Police officer, always loved to roast her own coffee.

She bought a two-pound roaster to use in her house in 1990. A coffee house in Westminster asked her to begin roasting for them and she found herself doing 100 pounds a week.

“In the meantime, I was building clients at farmers markets with a trailer and cart I would set up,” said Roy at her new location in Frederick. “The coffee business was surpassing the police work, so I took a sabbatical and opened my New Market store.”

Dublin Roasters, named after where Roy lived on Dublin Road in Walkersville, was in New Market for three years. In early January she moved to North Market Street.

“When I say ‘North Market Street,’ people worry about where they are going to park. But there is plenty of parking here,” she said of the new location.

Roy has worked to transform the 3,700 square feet of industrial space into a “community space,” with chairs, tables, sofas, artwork and Wi-Fi. The latter has proven popular with people working from home who can come in and network, Roy said.

Customers can enjoy coffee, including free samples, or take home some of the extensive selection of blends.

“I always have six or so blends for testing,” she said.

Roy has created special blends for Volt, Moxie, Shab Row Bistro and Common Market, which are available to customers at the shop as well.

“Volt sends its staff here to see what we do. It is a great partnership,” Roy said.

The customer area includes works from local artists, as well as scarves, shoulder bags and more from Peru. That is part of the link between Dublin Roasters and its coffee growers in that South American country. Roy has made several trips to Peru to meet with coffee growers and also purchased the crafts for sale. She sends money back to Peru from sales. Workers are picking coffee at a $1 a day, she said, and with the money sent back, that can mean as much $3 a day for the pickers, Roy said.

“And it ensures that we get quality, organic, fair-price coffee,” she said.

Roy also helps locally by having Community Living residents come in to do janitorial work; some help by measuring and weighing coffee. The non-profit agency provides residential and support services for people with developmental disabilities in Frederick County. Its residents have helped to transform the industrial area with painting and other decor assistance, Roy said.

As her business grew, Roy’s roast grew along with it: Her 2-pound roaster eventually was replaced by one that could handle 10 pounds. Today she uses a 65-pound roaster, with an after-burner that ensures no smokes is emitted into the air.

“I can do in three hours what used to take a week with the old one,” she said. And the space, compared to only 500 square feet in New Market, allows Roy to keep more coffee beans on hand, more room for preparation and for shipping via the Internet, which also has become a major part of her business.