MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Midstate resident Alex Rojohn has a passion for coffee and opened the Down To Earth Café in November 2021. As a 19-year-old entrepreneur, his road to opening a coffee shop began in high school.
“(I) started volunteering at the Cracked Pot Coffee shop, that was in the summer of 2019. I was just looking for a job as I just turned 16. I’ve always loved the inside of coffee shops, the atmosphere, and the people. so I figured I’d go it a go,” Rojohn said.
He used his time as a volunteer to immerse himself in the coffee shop experience and soon after he accepted his first official job with Idea Coffee.
“When I was working there I became a manager after about a year or so, that was really cool, it was a really great experience for me,” Rojohn said.
Rojohn believes his time as a manager with Idea Coffee gave him a new perspective on running the business behind a coffee shop. Shortly thereafter, at age 18, Rojohn started to talk to his parents about opening his own business.
“Initially, they weren’t against it or anything, they wanted to hear more about it they wanted me to look into it more. They understood that college wasn’t the path for everybody which I really appreciated because I wasn’t the biggest fan of high school. I really, really enjoyed working — that’s where I got most of my enjoyment from,” Rojohn said.
Soon enough, Down To Earth Café was open for business. Some of the tables, chairs, and fixtures inside the location are second-hand, a nod to the mission statement of the establishment to reuse and recycle. Rojohn wanted the interior design to be welcoming but also feature earthy tones such as green, brown, and orange.
The menu features a full coffee shop beverage offering and based on his experience, Rojohn put procedures in place behind the counter to ensure every cup of coffee is prepared perfectly and everyone receives the same quality in every cup. Most of the food offered at Down To Earth is made in-house.
“All of our baked goods and pastries are in-house. I really wanted to make those in-house because it allowed me to control the ingredients,” Rojohn said. He stated it was important that people with various dietary needs be able to enjoy the café.
Rojohn says they expected business to slow down a bit after their grand opening, but the opposite has happened. Thanks to the positive response from the community, the café has seen numerous days that have surpassed the business they saw on their opening day.
“When all the seats are taken, it’s full it’s packed in here, I get goosebumps,” he said. “The energy of everyone runs through me, it’s great.”
Rojohn opened Down To Earth with the help of his parents. All three of them work at the café and hold an ownership stake in the business, but Rojohn holds the majority.
Down to Earth Cafe is located at 100 Legacy Park in Suite 108 in Mechanicsburg.