The story of Forty Weight would actually make a pretty good movie. Long-time best friends and co-owners Andrew Ballard and Matt Marks were living on opposite ends of the country, both pursuing degrees. Andrew was in Bellingham, Washington, and Matt in Washington, D.C. For years, the two fantasized about someday turning their mutual love for specialty coffee into a genuine professional venture once they finished school.
After they both graduated in 2009, Andrew moved across the country to Ithaca, New York, and Matt moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Neither wanting anything to do with the career path their degrees would put them on, they decided to scrape together what little money they could and take a real shot at achieving their dream of starting a specialty roasting company.
Finding a roaster was an exciting first step. The guys picked up a 5-kilo machine from Arizona. But the excitement was short lived. Upon arriving in Ithaca, the roaster sat in Andrew’s kitchen, which wasn’t cool with the Department of Health, Andrew’s wife, or his landlord. With a virtually non-existent budget, figuring out a place to roast that would suit all involved parties proved tough. After much brainstorming, Andrew’s brother came up with the idea of buying an old camper to roast in. A week later the guys bought a 1980 Jayco camper for $1,000 and dragged it into the side yard of Andrew’s house. Working around the clock, Matt and Andrew converted the 25-foot camper into a roastery on wheels that the Department of Health, Andrew’s wife, and his landlord all found satisfactory.
In June 2010, Forty Weight earned its first dollars at a farmers market in Syracuse, New York. Over the next year, Forty Weight slowly added a handful of wholesale accounts to their resume and upgraded their facility to a finished garage. Woo hoo!!!
Today, the guys operate in a state-of-the-art facility in the outskirts of Ithaca and their coffee is sold in a plethora of the finest establishments in upstate New York, New York City, and stretches from Boston in the Northeast all the way to the West Coast.
Despite their success, Matt and Andrew insist on constantly tearing apart the way they do things, always looking to improve. This shared philosophy helped spawn the Forty Weight creed: Forever Exploring, Forever Evolving.
"The story of our company is a fun one. My best buddy and I turned $8,000 and a shared dream into this amazing company that we have the pleasure and privilege to operate. We run this company exactly the way we want to, and we promise to continue improving every day as long as we are in business."
- Andrew Ballard