5 years and going strong … An interview with Todd Foresman, owner of Way Cool Beans Coffee Shop in the Pajama Factory

Who are you and what do you do here?

I’m a lot of things; a business owner, a coffee roaster, and when I came here I was a caregiver for my mother. So, my mother passed, but I’m still a caregiver. That’s just a part of my personality. I’m a people person, I LOVE people. Especially here [at the Factory], they’re so diverse. Having come here and been around such a wide variety of different people, I’ve become more open-minded toward different lifestyles. I try to work on being non-judgmental, the unlearning is the hardest part.

How long have you been with the Pajama Factory?

In a few short days, it’ll be five years.

Did ​you grow up in the area? If not, when and why did you move to this area?

I literally sleep in my childhood bedroom. I live in the house I grew up in, which is three blocks away.

What was your experience with coffee roasting before you opened your establishment?

I worked in a print shop, buying whole bean coffee from the coffee shop up the street, trying to figure out what I was going to do to retire, because the printing industry was changing. The coffee shop down the street that I went to every day was closing, so I decided I would make it myself. I did all the research and figured out how to roast my own coffee. I built my first roaster, and I really had no intentions of opening a coffee shop, but one day it worked. I looked at my brother and said, “I’m going to open a coffee shop.” And three years later – I was here. I started with a table and a tent and worked at music festivals, anywhere I could set something up. I never thought I had what it took to open my own business, and it definitely takes some discipline, but it’s fun.

Tell me the story of Way Cool Beans. Why did you open, and why did you choose to open here?

The completely honest answer is, I don’t know. I knew there was some stuff over here, and I was just kinda drawn to it. I wanted to be down where the woodshop is, or around the corner. I didn’t know anything about the building. Barb [Andreassen] and Mark [Winkelman] pushed this spot on me, because it had plumbing and gas and had been empty for some time. I actually said no three times until I finally decided to be here. After being here, it became really obvious to me why I wanted to be here. It’s partly because of the community, partly because people meet here, a lot of things happen in here. I’m kind of a facilitator, not really by choice, it just kind of happens. It’s just the energy of the place. For example, there was a lawyer sitting here and also a guy who wanted to start a music festival, but he needed a lawyer. And they just happened to both be here. I live in a constant state of amazement but I’m never surprised anymore. It’s amazing, but it’s common. These things happen all the time if you pay attention.

​What core value drives your business?

Getting people together. This is a great place for people to stop and breathe. Everyone is in a hurry, everyone has something to do. Everyone is goal oriented, which isn’t a bad thing, but if you’re so goal-oriented while you’re trying to get there, you’re missing life. It’s the journey, not the destination. It’s about the now. Everyone says the same thing to me: “The seats are so comfortable in here.”

​What do you love most about what you do?

I do it for me. I’m not working for someone else, [so] it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t feel like I need to retire. I hang out all day. That’s what I do for a living. I brew coffee, but for the most part, it almost never feels like work. Since my mother’s passed, my brother comes and has lunch with me every day here so we’ve gotten closer.

What are your hopes for the future of Way Cool Beans?

Actually, I hope to really keep doing what I’m doing, but more of it. My intentions for the physical part of the shop – I’d like to do a facelift. I’ve started some things cosmetically. I’m working on getting into a few more restaurants. I’m working on making deliveries. I’d like to put together a coffee trailer – like a food truck, but for coffee, so I can go to events and hang out. Hiring more employees is a goal in the future as well.

What’s your current go-to drink?

Believe it or not, I drink more water than anything. Sumatra is my everyday coffee. Probably my favorite is the Hawaiian Kona, but it’s expensive.

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6th Annual Blues Bash… now featuring Bullfrog Brewery!

We are happy to announce the Annual Blues Bash is back!

Start your New Year’s festivities off right with one of Williamsport’s biggest celebrations in town!  This fundraising concert event benefits Factory Works  and will feature local talent Stacia Abernatha & Gabe Stillman, plus Mystery Trayne.  With Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats from State College, and America’s oldest touring blues band, The Nighthawks.

NEW THIS YEAR… Bullfrog Brewery will be onsite to offering selection of their best brews!

Tickets are ON SALE NOW!  $30 in Advance & $40 at the Door.  They can be purchased at Franco’s Lounge, Way Cool Beans here in the Factory or online at https://www.artful.ly/events/13936.

Reserved seating is available for EVENT SPONSORS… learn how you can become a sponsor at www.pajamafactory.net/bluesbashsponsors

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2017 Solar Eclipse

We had a Solar Eclipse Party here at the Pajama Factory today! A big thank you to Way Cool Beans for providing the telescope and our amazing tenants who provided special specs so we wouldn’t hurt our eyes!

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Election Night Excitement

We had a little bit of election night excitement tonight at Way Cool Beans when the coffee roaster overheated and filled the area with smoke.

The Williamsport Bureau of Fire were called as a precaution and did a great job of making sure everyone and everything was safe.

Way Cool Beans will be closed early tomorrow until they get the all-clear to open from the Codes Department.

Update: November 9, 10am
He’s open!
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Thanks, Williamsport Sun-Gazette!

Nice article in today’s Business Section of the Sun Gazette, reporting on the meeting held the other night at Way Cool Beans, looking to bring Uber to Williamsport.

Sun Gazette - Uber means part-time work for some motorists in region

You can read the whole thing here

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Way Cool Beans

Todd’s taking a well-deserved few days off.

(Shared Facebook Post from Way Cool Beans)

Takin a few days this weekend. My apologize for any inconvenience .

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Arrgghhhh!

Way Cool Beans - Closed April 1 - 3, 2016

As many of you discovered this morning, Way Cool Beans, the coffee shop here at the Pajama Factory, (and arguably the heart and soul of the West End of Williamsport,) is closed for a few days, while the owner, Todd M. Foresman, selfishly takes a few well-deserved days off.

Please note that there will likely be lost and disoriented souls wandering the area adjacent to the shop. Take care, as they have not had coffee and may be dangerous.

All will be well again on Monday morning, if we survive the weekend.

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A Day (and a Night) on the Town

If you’re spending the holidays in town this year, you’re no doubt looking for things to do with friends and family on the days between Christmas and New Years. Well, we’ve got you covered for the night before the night before New Years Day! Come to the Fourth Annual Blues Bash at the Pajama Factory on December 30, with The Nighthawks, Miss Melanie and the Valley Rats, Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants.

We’ll have family events starting at noon, including a special noontime blues jam hosted by Gabe Stillman and Mark Ross, reading from and signing his book Mixed Up Morning Blues! The Blues Bash is BYOB and we will have food trucks on site.

You can get your tickets at Way Cool Beans (seen below with some excellent coffee-related stocking stuffers,) or buy them online. Please let us know you’re planning on coming by RSVPing on the Facebook event page.

Way Cool Beans stocking stuffers

We hope to see you there!

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