I found this article in the newspaper and had to share it. I had no idea that the owner of Mountain View Coffee Co. was only 23 years old. That’s so inspiring!

At 23, James Bruzzi is fulfilling his dream: He owns three coffee stores and a bakery.

The young businessman, who owns the Mountain View Coffee Co., has joined a growing number of independent specialty coffeehouse owners in the Southwest region who are tapping into an annual $12 billion business, said Andrew Hetzel, founder of Cafemakers, a coffee business consulting and performance firm.

In the Valley, Bruzzi’s Mountain View goes up against other local competition, like Paradise Bakery, Lux Coffee Bar, Coffee Plantation, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and others.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for independent retailers to develop a unique concept and provide the consumer with better quality specialty coffee beverages that they’ve come to expect from some of the large chains,” Hetzel said.

Bruzzi, who worked at coffee shops through high school and college, thought he wanted to start his own coffee shop until he came across one for sale in Fountain Hills.

Bruzzi, then 21 and a graduate from Johnson Wales University in Providence, R.I., was in town visiting a friend at the time. “It was something I thought about. And I love coffee,” Bruzzi said. “I saw this was for sale and it was almost exactly what I wanted to do.”

So, with his savings and the help of several investors from his home state of Connecticut, he bought the Fountain Hills coffee shop for $100,000. He has since expanded the store into two other successful branches in Scottsdale and Glendale.

In addition, he added a bakery to the Scottsdale location to make homemade baked goods for his coffee stores.

Of his first venture in Fountain Hills, Bruzzi said, “We kept the store the same and name the same. But we really tried to set ourselves apart (from the old store) with branding and the logo and things like that.”

Bruzzi, who employs 15 people at his stores, said he sells about 100 pounds of coffee per week. His stores offer 21 types of coffee, 21 types of specialty drinks and 21 types of bottled drinks.

The stores also offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi, board games, televisions, cozy couches and tables.

Some of the specialty drinks are trendy. For example, theOC, an orange crème frozen drink, plays off the initials of the Fox TV series The O.C.

“If someone comes up with a drink, we test it out as a special,” Bruzzi said. “And if it works out it goes up on the menu.”

Bruzzi said he likes competing with large chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. He said he tries to keep up with competition by offering top-level products. Bruzzi would like to open as many as 10 stores throughout the state over the next two years, and possibly one in Connecticut.

“I’m really proud of what it’s become,” Bruzzi said. “Our customers are very loyal and they come back and back. That’s the biggest success, is how we established ourselves with everyone and how they accept us.”

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Whoa. I stopped reading when the author called Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf “local.” And Paradise Bakery? Cafes in ten states is “national,” not “local.” I’ll try to stomach the rest later.

  2. Jerry S.

    I think Mountain View is, unfortunatly like many growing businesses, focusing on their expansion and less on their product. I used to love their coffee and frequented their store regularly. But it seems that their coffee quality has declined alot within the past couple of weeks. The pastries are still good.

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  4. It’s interesting. Either it’s about the coffee, or it’s not.

    In this case, it’s definitely not.

  5. Okay, I finished it. It’s great to see a college grad go out and work for himself. Not only that, but do a successful job at it. Did Bruzzi hire Cafemakers? Probably not, since $100,000 is barely enough to open a store.

  6. Yeah, I was sort of wondering about the Hetzel quote as well.

  7. Johnny H.

    I have been going here for years. The coffee has always been great, especially recently. Nothing beats an iced latte on a hot day. Thanks Mountain View.

  8. I thought I’d check out the shop on 90th and Mountain View. I got there at 4:50pm, and learned they close at 5pm.

    It was too hot to consider sitting outside, but, more distressing, it seemed that neither inside nor out had comfy seating.

    That pretty much rules it out for any away-from-home hacking.

    Did I miss something? It seemed small; did I not see some other room?

  9. James, it turns out that the Scottsdale location is their bakery, and I think it exists mostly to service the baked good needs of their other locations.

    I stopped in after 5 o’clock once and saw they were closed + noticed the lack of seating. Definitely NOT a good place for hacking on a computer.

  10. This company is not presently a client. We were contacted by the newspaper to comment on the industry. Andrew

  11. G.A

    Hmm.. Seems like most people are just jealous a young ambitious man is out there.. trying to make an honest living as oppose to hacking..