Summit Coffee opened a new café on The Plaza this past weekend and announced that it has awarded two new franchises in the Ballantyne and Eastover neighborhoods of Charlotte, bringing to 10 the total number of locations the specialty coffee chain has under development in the Charlotte metropolitan area and to 13 the number of sites open or under development overall.
Will and Eleanor Funderburg are the proprietors of the new café, located at 2501 The Plaza. Will is a 2009 graduate of Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., site of the chain’s original “Basecamp” location. The couple have both been long-time fans of the brand, and when Will noticed the offer to “Own A Summit” on the company’s newsletter, he jumped at the chance to learn more.
"Wow – the time is finally here,” Will said heading into the Grand Opening weekend. “It started as a realization that we wanted to work on a passion project/side hustle together, then continued to develop as an intention to create something we could enjoy with friends and neighbors, something that would create fulfilling jobs locally, and ultimately emerged as somewhere where our family (and our community) can create memories for years to come. It has been quite the journey and we’re super excited to share this milestone with everyone.”
Summit now has eight open cafés – two in Davidson, three in Charlotte, one in Huntersville and two in Asheville. Four more cafés are set to open later this year – including one each in Mooresville and Cornelius, N.C., the chain’s first out-of-state site in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Ga., and the newly awarded unit in Eastover. The Ballantyne site will open early in 2023.
Anthony and Amanda Rossi will open the Ballantyne Summit and two couples, Linda and Ed Gallagher and Eric and Jennifer Hughes, will jointly operate the Eastover café. All six individuals are long-time fans of the specialty coffee brand and are eager to bring it into their local communities, a factor the chain seeks out earnestly in courting new franchisees.
“We’re thrilled to be adding all of these couples and locations to our growing family,” says Summit CEO Brian Helfrich. “We love finding franchise partners who share our passion for offering the most unique, best-tasting and responsibly sourced product, maintaining both a commitment to community and a consciousness of our need for environmental stewardship, and creating unique destinations that reflect the nuances of their respective communities while delivering the experience that loyal Summit fans have come to expect when they walk through our doors.”
Summit ultimately plans to have 20 sites in the Charlotte metro area, Helfrich added, and is actively seeking franchisees to open and operate cafés there as well as in Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina, all of which have multiple communities matching the characteristics of those where the company already has seen success.
“Ballantyne and Eastover have high densities of families, and many ‘active-lifestyle’ folks. These tend to be pretty good predictors of success for us,” Helfrich says.
Summit’s mission is to approach coffee, community and collaboration with remarkable hospitality and a commitment to excellence. The company serves and sells responsibly sourced coffees identified by making trips around the world every few months to find and revisit producers. Its menu consists of unique drinks such as Blueberry Honeysuckle and Rose Matcha lattes, the iced coffee-based Lavender Dream sweetened with honey syrup and topped with a lavender cold foam, plus a variety of teas, wine, beer, baked goods, granola and energy bars.
In addition, Summit continually strives to set new benchmarks for conscientious operations. Whenever possible, it works with the same farmers and cooperatives year after year to provide stability of sales. It is an official partner of 1% for the Planet, giving back at least 1% of revenue generated from its coffee sales to organizations addressing environmental issues. It has certified as “Climate Neutral,” for zero net carbon emissions while making and delivering its products or services, and recently dropped the surcharge on more environmentally friendly "alt-milks" such as soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. Summit also sponsors a growing list of athletes, including a leading female ultramarathoner, an openly queer ultramarathoner and a professional mountain climber who is heading up the first all-Black team to climb Mount Everest this spring.
“We use our platform to help others, from our commitment to sourcing Relationship Coffees with 100% transparency, to our progressive wellness, development, and engagement practices with our staff, to our 1% For the Planet partnership, to our sponsorship of athletes who push beyond boundaries to achieve greatness and inspire others. Life is best lived when you can celebrate with those alongside you, and we believe that to share is to live responsibly.”