A Philadelphia-based coffee roaster with nearly 30 cafes from New York to L.A. chose Norton Shores to expand its business.
La Colombe didn't open a cafe in Muskegon County, but a canning facility to make the company's lattes and cappuccinos portable.
The production site in Norton Shores was once home to a Greek yogurt factory.
"La Colombe means the dove," said Todd Carmichael, company co-founder. The area's dairy farms attracted him to the site. "The fresh milk is major," said Carmichael. Ingredient sourcing so close the milk can go from udder to can in one day.
"It is fresh, the PH is way high, the proteins are still beautiful, the fat content is perfect, the flavors are all there, it is sweet," said Carmichael.
The company has developed what's described as an authentic way of making the crafted coffee experience portable. "It is about freeing the crafted coffee experience from the cafe," said Carmichael. "I want to make coffee for America, and America does not all live in Manhattan man."
La Colombe uses a special can with a valve that allows nitrous oxide to be injected into it. The same chemical compound is used in whipped cream. The can includes a lip guard Carmichael says gives customers a unique drinking experience.
Much of the production process had to be invented. Carmichael says he grew up on a fruit farm and considers himself a farm boy who practices science without a license.
"Because coffee is not very far from the farm at all," said Carmichael. "I'm always just exercising what I learned as a kid."
His new drinks can be found in major grocery retailers to small grab-n-go type corner stores. The company's website tracks the expanding number of retail locations.
The canning line is able to process 40,000 cans an hour. With 30 to 40 workers on two different shifts LaColombe has a target of selling 75 million cans this year.
The company has only been in Norton Shores for less than one year and already an expansion to add coffee roasting equipment is being considered.