Lost Aviator Coffee Co. is about to reach new heights with two more locations coming to Guelph and Toronto.
As sales continue to soar, co-owners Adam Wright and Steve Zago, are ready to expand their coffee roasting business since opening their first location at 404 York Rd. in February 2020.
The Lost Aviator Coffee bar is not only the home of the company’s roasting operations, but brings a unique vintage aviation themed coffee bar that offers signature blends and single origin coffees both brewed and bagged for home use.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for sure since we opened our first location,” Zago said.
“But it’s really taken off, and now here we are, ready to expand. I never thought this would happen.”
Two long-time friends and career airline pilots, Wright and Zago were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic. During that time, they decided to go into the coffee roasting business.
Since then, Zago says the company has received support from residents, locally and beyond.
“When we started at York Road., we had everything all in one shop with roasting in the back, and a coffee bar out front. And then very quickly, between our own customers coming through the door, our direct sales, and our wholesale and on-line sales, it’s just grown,” Zago said.
Lost Aviator Coffee Co. services clients across Canada and worldwide including the U.S., Europe and Australia.
“The business has grown so much that our quarters are getting pretty tight, trying to store thousands of pounds of beans as well as trying to provide a full-service coffee bar. So, we decided to look for something a little more industrial,” Zago said.
The new location at #9-449 Laird Rd. is set to open in about two weeks.
“This will include the main roastery, and we will also have a small coffee bar out front,” Zago said.
Along with the second Guelph location, another opportunity in Toronto came calling.
“This is with another aviation business in Toronto, called Aviation World. We will be co-located with them right below the approach path at one of the main runways in Toronto. So, that was a no brainer for us,” Zago said.
Lost Aviator Coffee Co. will be located at 191 Carlingview Drive in Etobicoke, right next to the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
“Right now, we are waiting for the City of Toronto to come through with approvals. But it’s ready to go. We’re just waiting for the final thumbs up, and then we will launch.”
When it comes to the experience of designing the original coffee bar, Zago says that the decor is influenced by aviation history.
“I think this engaged a creative side in both of us. Being a pilot, it’s very technical," Zago said.
“With the coffee company, it engages a totally different part of our brains, but there is an aviation influence in all that we do from the décor to the marketing. We try to make this entertaining and it’s been fun.”
Zago and Wright have returned to flying since the pandemic.
“We’re so thankful for our incredible staff. They run things and we can focus more so on the expansion and business growth and the day-to-day packaging and shipping,” Zago said.
“Our staff does an amazing job. We are really fortunate."
Zago says that meeting people in the neighbourhood, interacting with everyone face to face, has been a great experience at the York Road location.
“It’s a unique area and I just grew up down the street on Manitoba, so that’s pretty cool. We’ve made lots of friends in the last couple years,” Zago said.
“People praise our staff and say that it is a welcoming environment, which we are so happy to hear. That’s what we want, people to come in, feel welcome, have a good time, and have some good coffee.”
Lost Aviator Coffee Co. sources beans from smallholder farms around the world. The experience, Zago says, has driven his passion for coffee roasting.
“I’m more comfortable behind the roaster. I really enjoy getting a good roast going and learning the science behind it all, which reminds me of aviation,” he said.
And perhaps one day, Wright and Zago can make another dream become a reality by taking an old aircraft and turning it into a coffee bar.
“We have all of these great ideas, but at the end of the day it’s about roasting good coffee. Wil just have to see where it goes."
“If we can grow this sustainably, then we will. But right now, we just want to see where the winds take us.”
For more information about Lost Aviator Coffee Co. visit here.