Many years ago, during a tumultuous time in the northern corner of Constantinople, with war and unrest on the cusp, John Costas left his beautiful homeland for the United States of America, in pursuit of the American dream.
John came through Ellis Island, started as a dishwasher at the Plaza Hotel, worked as a baker, and ultimately started his own business. The United States offered him freedom and opportunity – a place where his ambition could climb as high as the sky, and hard work was the means of getting there.
Aroma Coffee was formed in 1937, later to become the Omar Coffee Company. John started with a single blend of coffee and a simple vision: buy premium green coffee beans, slow roast them to perfection, and always deliver superior freshness and personalized service to all customers. The dream became much more vivid when he married Sultana. Their two sons, Steve and Nick, eventually entered into the world of coffee as well. While other children spent their summers playing ball, these boys were roasting, packing, grinding and learning the coffee business – how to buy, what to buy, and the best way to ensure that the customer received the freshest quality product. As the distinctive aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans spread up and down the streets of Hartford’s Franklin Avenue, so did John’s business.
In 1955, John’s son, Steve Costas, took over the business and continued to build Omar’s reputation for quality coffee throughout the state of Connecticut. Steve, once known in Hartford as the “Juan Valdez of Franklin Avenue,” continued with his father’s vision.
The product line has since multiplied and diversified, yet the timeless philosophy remains the same. As the marketplace has expanded, coffees such as Costa Rican Tarrazu, Ethiopian Lima, and Sumatra Mandheling have become increasingly popular. Awareness for sustainability has also become an important factor. Omar Coffee currently offers fair trade, organic and rainforest alliance coffees, keeping environment and social responsibility at the forefront.
John Costas would have been proud today to see that his family has carried strong the values that he had instilled. In its fourth generation, Omar Coffee Co. continues to steadily grow. In our 80th year, we celebrate hard work, progress and achievement, all while still holding true to tradition and trust.