The love of coffee was first sparked for coffee connoisseur Rob Wilson and his wife, Sereta, several years ago while traveling across the United States and Europe. They sampled coffees in each place they went, and upon returning home to Norman, tried to recreate those tastes.
That experience evolved into discussions on how Rob could further delve into his java passion, and the decision was that he would explore opening his own coffee business.
But first, Rob traveled the country on a solo journey to conduct research or, as he puts it, “find myself and my coffee groove.”
Rob attended several roasting schools, including the Diedrich Roaster manufacturing company’s roaster school in Sand Point, Idaho. As he traveled there and back, Rob undertook a “spiritual quest, meditating and experiencing the wonders of this great planet.”
In 2018, the couple launched their business from their small farm in Norman. The Wilson duo have since moved to town, but their operations have now grown into a full-service coffee shop and roasting house—the Yellow Dog Coffee Company, named after their yellow Labrador Annie—in the heart of Norman. Around this time Kate Bierman joined the team and was instrumental in taking the businesses to the next level.
The team has recently purchased a historic building in the Original Townsite area (222 S. Porter Ave.) where they intend to expand their food offerings, the seating capacity and create a meeting space for all community.
“We hope to provide a community space for a coffee experience that includes all things bean to cup!’” said Sereta, co-owner. “Our vision includes an eventual bookstore, and a space for local live entertainment. Look for this space to open late spring of 2022."
Customers rave about their coffee, which is fresh roasted on the premises with the help of Rob’s co-roaster and shop manager Audrey Short, and part-time Roaster Sam Fugate. The shop also sells muffins and cookies baked on site, and scones baked by Jon Hunnell with Sconed (www.sconedcity.com). (Side note: Jon is embarking upon opening his own restaurant in the heart of Norman to be named Levity Breakfast House, which will be located at 309 S. Peters Ave.).
Yellow Dog also provides fresh roasted beans delivered to the door of clients living within Norman city limits and offer weekly and monthly subscriptions.
Yellow Dog Coffee Company purchases its beans from small co-op farms located in Ethiopia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico, among other places.
“We choose our beans based on the ethical harvests and support of small farms,” Rob said. “The farms we choose enable you to shop LOCAL, but on a GLOBAL scale.”
Each farm provides support for their villages through their coffee bean harvest, and since coffee beans cannot be grown locally, this is the next best thing, Rob explains.
Several fine local and Oklahoma businesses also carry the Yellow Dog Coffee Company’s coffees, including Stash, Scratch and Cool Beans in Norman (also owned and managed by the team), Sample Oklahoma, Sooner Pharmacy, the Shivering Monkey in Tecumseh, and Sei Bella in Drummond.
Yellow Dog Coffee Company’s mission, as stated on their website, is to: “provide folks with the best quality, responsibly sourced, locally roasted craft coffee beans. We hope to bring the world’s best coffee to our customers, while giving back to our community, all roasted with passion and appreciation of all the work it takes to bring coffee to your cup.”
Rob, Sereta and Kate also own and operate Annie’s Ruff House boarding studio, doggy daycare and dog rescue. They have started and serve on several local boards and organizations. They believe deeply in the philanthropic business model, and a portion of their profits go to the Annie’s Rescue Foundation 501©3, which supports medical needs of animals in Norman.
Yellow Dog Coffee Company
109 E. Tonhawa St., Ste. 110
Norman, OK, 73069