Location, atmosphere, and a good cup of coffee draw customers to Essexville

At first glance, tucking a coffee shop into a strip mall partially hidden behind a drugstore seems like a bad idea. But Josh Sharrow and his sister, Rachelle Ranville, say they feel like the Essexville space was destined to become home to the Excited Goat Coffee Co.

Sharrow and Ranville, who own Bay City’s Sunrise Pedal Trolley and are the former owners of City Grind, started toying with the idea of opening a coffee shop about a year ago. Hampton's Plaza owner Lisa Schneider mentioned she had an opening.

“Every single person we talked to about it said it was a horrible location, and told us nobody comes out this far.”

After checking out Hampton's Plaza, the pair looked at other potential locations, but kept returning to the strip mall. Finally, Sharrow told his sister, “Something keeps bringing us back here.”

Since the coffee house opened in December, good coffee and an energized atmosphere keep bringing back the customers.

The heart of any coffee house is a high-quality product. Excited Goat uses coffee roasted in nearby Midland.Sharrow says he never expected travelers along M-25 to stop in for a cup of coffee. Instead, his customers are the shop’s neighbors.

“We’ve seen more people that live here in Essexville, that live behind us in these subdivisions,” and he says he’s finding he serves a lot more decaffeinated and sugar-free drinks than he used to at City Grind.

“It’s a little different kind of coffee shop,” Sharrow adds, adding he likes to give people space to be comfortable.

“I always joke with people that it’s kind of a mix between a country bar and a coffee shop – it can be loud and obnoxious and other times can get quiet.” Sharrow calls it an “extrovert coffee shop.”

For now, the extroverted shop serves drinks indoors. But Sharrow hopes to make use of an outdoor patio when the weather breaks.

“What really sold us here was this outside space,” he says. “We want to put some tables out there and have some live music outside in the evening. People don’t necessarily think about live music at a coffee shop, but I think it could be really cool out there in the evening with some live music,” and an iced coffee.

The coffee they serve is also unique to Excited Goat. Sharrow says the siblings invested a lot of time researching different roasters until they settled on Creation Coffee, roasted nearby in Midland.

For now, the Excited Goat Coffee Co. is an all-indoor operation, but the owners hope to serve drinks on a patio this summer.“No coffee you get here will have been roasted more than seven days ago, and to be honest, it’s my favorite coffee,” he says. “It’s an all-around good cup of coffee."

No cup of coffee is complete without a sweet treat, so Excited Goat Coffee Co. is also home to Heidi’s Darn Good Cookies. The cookies were a staple at City Market in Downtown Bay City, but Sharrow says when the market closed, the cookies were harder to find. Selling the cookies at the coffee house solves the problem.

“It was a natural progression that we would also offer Heidi’s Darn Good Cookies,” he says.

The name also is a natural, although it requires a bit of explanation. Sharrow says the name comes from a legend that tells the stories of goats discovering the energizing effects of caffeine after eating coffee beans. Someone decided the goats were onto something and cooked the berries down into a drink for humans.

Sharrow says whether that’s true or not, he and Ranville decided awhile ago that they just liked having fun with the name.

“We went to a place called Rodeo Goat in Texas and decided after that wherever we went to in business we were going to have the word goat in the name. It allowed us to have a little fun with it, and it was a little edgy.” 

Excited Goat Coffee Co., located in the Hampton's Plaza at 1480 W. Center Ave. in Essexville, is open seven days a week.