Hayden Ort-Ulm first got the idea for Basecamp Coffee Company over two thousand miles away from Cumberland in Seattle, Washington. The Emerald City was bristling with coffee shops, micro-roasters and hangouts selling fresh-roasted brews that tickled the taste buds. While the caffeine market in Seattle had reached saturation point, Ort-Ulm knew one area that could use a quality cup of joe: his old stomping grounds in Allegany County, Maryland, in the heart of the I-68 region. He found himself thinking “Man, that’s something that could work here.”
So, when Ort-Ulm moved back to the area, he didn’t just bring suitcases. He also had a head full of business plans.
Basecamp Coffee Company started as a one-man operation, selling roasts at local farmers’ markets. Business was brewing, and in 2019 Hayden and his wife, Susan, opened the company’s first brick-and-mortar location in the Greene Street Historic District in Cumberland, which Ort-Ulm identifies as the “economic and cultural hub” of the I-68 region. He now employs five workers in addition to himself, and they’ve already built up a following. “I’m amazed at the repeat customers we have,” says Ort-Ulm.
The journey from bean to cup is what makes Basecamp Coffee’s drinks unique. Their beans are harvested in South and Central America and Africa and shipped to New York, where Ort-Hulm purchases them. The beans are roasted locally and brewed onsite in Cumberland, where they are sold alongside treats and eats sourced from another local restaurant.
“If you’re doing your best and putting out a solid product, people will support you,” Ort-Hulm says. He praises the Western Region Maryland Small Business Development Center, which he says was “extremely helpful,” when they worked with him to craft a business plan. Allegany County Department of Economic Development and the City of Cumberland were also instrumental in helping him get Basecamp Coffee Company off the ground, while Allegany County Tourism helps promote the company’s products. Ort-Ulm advises aspiring business owners to make sure to take advantage of local resources and trust the process as they start their own company.
As Basecamp Coffee Company continues to develop, Ort-Ulm has learned something that may be a surprise to outsiders. The I-68 region is frequently pegged as an area with high business potential. He knows differently: The region is ready for business now. The accessibility to major markets, low taxes, government support and exceptional quality of life are all in place and waiting for investors to take the “potential and work with it.”
Visit Basecamp Coffee Company at 108 Greene Street in Cumberland, Maryland. Learn why the I-68 region is the perfect home for your business on our website.