Q&A with Stovetop Roasters owner Jared DeMeester

We all have the goal to make something of ourselves in this world, but not all of us end up reaching that point of success. However, the aspiration to become something became a reality for twenty-seven-year-old FHC alumnus Jared DeMeester.

While studying at Hope College in 2012, Jared went off with his best friend Alex Bolen, also an FHC alum, and started up a longboard wheel company, Sweet Spot Wheels. After getting that first taste of business, Jared caught the startup and entrepreneurial bug.

In the following years, he found himself getting caught up in several other small businesses. As an ambitious entrepreneur, Jared never let the opportunities presented to him pass by. However, after bouncing around different business worlds, Jared eventually found himself wrapped up in the coffee business. Since 2015, his business, Stovetop Roasters, has been growing, going all the way from a small garage start-up to a lab and roastery in Ann Arbor, MI and a café here in Grand Rapids. 

Stovetop Roasters café initially moved into Downtown Grand Rapids in late 2018. Since then, they have been sourcing, roasting, and serving coffee with concern and care for their customers. Their goal as a business is to find remarkable coffees that carry their own story, coffees that make them unique as a company. They strive to give customers the best possible product they can create, making sure to bring complete care to each step their process.

Jared also brought the key aspect of a good atmosphere to the Stovetop Roasters. The downtown café has its own unique set up to it, making it an option for anything from chatting with friends to studying. And with Jared’s strong ambition, I see the business continuing to grow.

What was the inspiration for Stovetop Coffee Cafe?

“At Stovetop Roasters, we care about the people who grow, serve, and drink our coffee. At Stovetop, we believe great coffee builds quality relationships, and quality relationships inspire great coffee. We’re serious about design, sourcing, roasting, and brewing, but what excites us most is coffee’s great knack for bringing people together. It’s a conversational beverage, and we think that’s significant.”

Who works alongside you in making the Cafe a success?

“The staff! They are the reason it exists and our doors are open each day. These people are amazingly skilled, knowledgeable, hilarious, and kind-hearted.”

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

“Our brand includes a lot of hand drawings and I am so grateful to be the person behind the pen at Stovetop.”

What makes the café original?

“A cafe is definitely defined by the people inside it. There are all kinds of folks from different strokes. People meeting about selling their house, folks playing board games, someone working on their cross-stitch, you name it. It brings all kinds of wonderful humans together and that makes the space unique.” 

What is your goal for the future of the café?

“Lots of fun stuff! A food program is in the works, continuing to expand our coffee offering, public tastings and classes, and of course, just continuing to be a home for the rad people of Grand Rapids!”

Why should people come into Stovetop Roasters?

“Coffee tastes good, there are drawings of dogs everywhere, and you will probably smile while you are there.”

If you had to owe your success to someone or something, who or what would it be?

“My wife and parents. Since I was small, my parents have pushed me to exercise my creativity. And my wife spurs me on in creative work each and every day.”

What is one piece of advice you have for people who aspire to start their own businesses/shops? 

“Take a step forward every day—meet with someone, send that Hail Mary email, sketch your ideas. I am a student just like you that simply took one step each day. It’s amazing to see the way things and people fall in place with consistent and pointed effort. Enjoy the ride, folks!”

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