Courtesy of Karen Dorsey
By Winn Duvall
A focus on family and quality defines the Ozark Mountain Coffee Company. Larry and Kathy Gifford purchased the company in 2006 when founders and close family friends John and Patty Merritt fell in ill health. The Giffords had experience in the restaurant business but were ready to get out of management, so they cashed in their various investments and purchased the company. As of this January, the Giffords paid off the business, and it is officially their own.
Today Larry and Kathy, their sons, and one other employee continue the pattern of excellence that began with John and Patty Merritt. What really sets the company’s product apart is its small-batch roasting technique. When it roasts its beans, which are collected from thirteen countries around the world, it keeps the quantity between six and twenty pounds. The small scale allows it to keep a close eye on quality. However, its custom flavoring is the true standout; it even has a trademark blend called B-52, a Kahlua- and Irish-cream flavored coffee. It also sells a variety of teas that can be custom flavored, as well as chocolate-covered coffee beans.