It all started in 1999 when Craig Brooks finally burnt-out on his auto business job and Michelle could no longer fight the urge to move closer to her mom.
They sold their house in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, packed their two young kids up, and drove 3000 miles to Upstate New York.
They planned on opening a drive-thru coffee shop in Ithaca, thinking that people there may warm up to the idea of specialty coffee pretty quickly, but they just couldn't find a suitable location. Weeks went by, and every day they would search Central New York for the perfect spot, always returning to their home in East Homer without any luck.
One day, Craig was driving aimlessly, trying to find his way around Cortland, and he ended up on the corner of Port Watson and Pomeroy. Wow! This place might work! And it’s for sale! He ran home, got Michelle and the kids and made an offer on the old Hess station the very next day.
Through the late summer and fall of 1999, Craig, Michelle, and the Brooks family could be found painting, cleaning, installing and generally sweating their butts off restoring their building at 160 Port Watson Street.
People thought they were nuts! They would stop by and ask, “What are you guys doing?” and Craig or Michelle would say, “Building a drive-thru coffee shop!” People would offer kind words of encouragement, or just laugh, but generally, folks were pretty sure that Cortland wasn’t ready for drive-thru coffee.
Finally, with no money left in the bank, cut fingers and sore backs, Craig and Michelle opened Coffee Mania at 5:30 AM on December 7th, 1999.
Thanks to the amazing and overwhelming support of the Cortland community, Coffee Mania became a success. So much so that they opened a second location in the Groton Avenue Plaza on December 10th, 2003.
By 2006, they decided to learn the art of coffee roasting. They found a rad building on South Avenue, an old train depot, and founded the wholesale arm of their operation, Coffee Depot.
In 2008 it seemed like it was high time to open a location in Homer, where they could showcase some of the great coffees they were roasting, as well as offer a nice sit-down coffee shop experience with great breakfast and lunch food.
A few years later, they found another fantastic building in Homer on James Street and built a wholesale bakery and catering kitchen.
Whats next? Stay tuned to find out, as Coffee Mania is
always trying to exceed the expectations of their customers by providing excellent customer service and amazing coffee!