Most days, as soon as you walk into The Peekskill Coffee House, you’ll hear the lively buzz that echoes around the store. You’ll see the color on the walls and the many chairs and couches. You’ll quickly understand why Peekskill Coffee has been called “the living room of Peekskill.”
For years, Peekskill lacked that central meeting place that brings people together and helps build a sense of community. It wasn’t until 2003 that Sunny Cover founded The Peekskill Coffee House with two other partners. In two decades since, Peekskill has witnessed significant change, much of which has roots right at the coffeehouse.
“I know a lot of the businesses that are here were developed on the tables of my coffeehouse,” Cover says. “I think having a place where the community at large is welcome and enjoys has played a really big part in what happens in the town.”
Cover bought out her partners in 2013 and has since expanded the coffeehouse to add more seating and offer many more items beyond coffee.
Now, fresh off the coffeehouse’s 19th anniversary, Cover is taking on her next venture: roasting.
Ryze Collective, a roasting collective, was founded in 2022 by Cover to help The Peekskill Coffee House with its own roasting capabilities and create a more accessible community for coffee shops and other businesses in the Hudson Valley.
Before Ryze Collective, there were just three shared coffee roasting facilities in the local area, creating a lack of access to fresh-roasted beans with roots in the region. During that time, Cover and her team would have to drive down to New York City at least weekly to produce and transport their product.
“We were putting more time in the car just getting there and getting back than actually roasting,” Cover notes.
In early 2021, they placed an order for their own roaster and began looking for locations to house it. Eventually, they landed on The Hat Factory, the perfect spot because it is literally up the road from the coffeehouse.
The main feature of the new space is the coffee roaster, which will allow Ryze Collective to roast on demand. Additionally, a test kitchen will allow new employees at the coffeehouse to train and gain experience before being thrown into the fast-paced environment in the store.
Cover is excited to help other businesses, cafes, and roasters get their feet off the ground. Ryze Collective offers its roaster and kitchen for shared use, with the possibility for people to teach classes in the space.
“We have a very successful coffeehouse, and I really do want to share that information with other people so they can be successful,” Cover enthuses. With nearly 20 years of experience, Cover is eager to help new businesses with things she knows can be challenging, like standard operating procedure, scheduling, company culture, and more.
Now that Ryze Collective has been officially launched, Cover looks forward to seeing what comes of it and hopes to plant the seed for a vibrant coffee community in the Hudson Valley. “I really do want to create a kind of business-to-business network and community in the coffee community here in the Hudson Valley,” she says.