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Fuel Coffee expands to Halcyon in Forsyth County

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Finding a coffee shop these days is almost too easy. Turn a corner or throw a stone and you’re bound to find a new pop-up shop or break a window at Starbucks.

But finding a truly local coffee house that makes every customer feel like a regular is something special.

For more than a year, Angela and Dave Thompson of Fuel Coffee in Alpharetta have been serving thousands of customers with that feeling as their main mission.

“We are your community coffee shop,” Dave Thompson said. “We just love being a part of the community. And we want you to have that feeling.”

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Angela and Dave Thompson, owners of Fuel Coffee in Alpharetta and Cumming, stand outside their location on North Main Steet in Alpharetta.

The Thompsons started Fuel Coffee off North Main Street in Alpharetta in March 2021 and have expanded to open their own coffee roasting operation, and now a brand-new location at Halcyon, which opened just weeks ago.

Dave, a longtime veteran of the corporate restaurant world, and Angela, a former director of procurement, started their business during one of the worst times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were closing their doors and laying off workers to stay afloat.

As manager responsible for multiple restaurants in the Atlanta area, Dave said the breaking point came when he was forced to lay off nearly 300 people on a single day, closing some restaurants and saving others.

“I was renting refrigerated trucks, taking them around from one restaurant to another,” he said. “Every single place we went to, coffee shops were thriving in the pandemic, where everyone else was struggling to figure out how to survive.”

When the couple finally knew it was time for a change in October 2021, the idea of opening a coffee shop together came up and the rest was history.

But they didn’t want to open just any coffee shop, Angela said, they wanted to open a coffee shop for people like them, people who asked questions and didn’t know everything about coffee. A community coffee shop, where anyone was welcome.

“When we were thinking of doing the coffee thing, we toured 1,000 coffee shops around Atlanta,” Angela said. “One thing that we found was missing is we felt out of place if you walked into certain coffee shops, and you didn't know exactly what certain orders or drinks were.”

Fuel Coffee’s new Halcyon location

Fuel Coffee’s new location in Halcyon has quickly become a hotspot for remote workers and coffee lovers alike.

In just a few months from that decision, they opened their first location off North Main Steet in Alpharetta.

Beyond being coffee lovers, Angela and Dave Thompson had no experience in the coffee industry or roasting coffee beans, so they relied on help of other industry professionals and family to learn and become professionals in quick order.

Dave said he and his son-in-law, who now works as the company’s head roaster, worked side by side for months to learn the trade.

“He and I learned kind of shoulder to shoulder, so he's roasting for us right now,” he said.

The couple has also put their daughter and sons to work, making the operation a true family business. With the help of their family, they were able to launch the Halcyon location this October in the development’s Market Hall, which is a huge step for their business, Dave said.

With a foothold in Alpharetta and south Forsyth County, Dave said that he can see the coffee shops expanding into areas like Roswell, Johns Creek, Woodstock and Canton. With their roaster churning out beans by the barrelful, they might even try starting a bean subscription plan in certain areas.

“In a previous life, I did run 10 restaurants for a while, and I feel like I could get it to 10,” he said.

But no matter how many locations they start, Dave and Angela said they won’t lose sight of the community feeling that started their business in the first place.

“If we have, two locations, or 222 locations, I always want to make you want to feel that small-town feeling,” Dave Thompson said.

Visit Fuel Coffee in Alpharetta at 800 N Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009, or at the Forsyth County location 6330 Halcyon Way, Alpharetta, GA 30005. Learn more at www.fuelatl.com.

Reach Alexander Popp at 770-847-7404. Follow him on Twitter @Popp2Alex.