Woodstock coffee business works to give formerly incarcerated people of color a "second chance"

A Metro-Atlanta business owner is looking to expand his coffee roasting business to create jobs for people of color who have been incarcerated and generosity from the community is helping to make that possible.

Paris Darnell Landon Jr. founded Woodstock Coffee Co. in 2015.

 His Seattle upbringing gave him the early exposure to all things' java.

 "Just growing up, drinking coffee every day and being around it every day and people that roasted coffee gave me the love and that’s kind of where it started from," Landon Jr. said. 

"We source coffee from all over the world from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Peru, and Mexico," Landon said.

While the company has multiple partnerships with cafés' and restaurants which carry his coffee, Landon says getting things off the ground was not easy because years ago he was incarcerated. 

He explains that employment opportunities were limited, and he encountered a lot of road blocks while trying to start a business.

With Woodstock Coffee Co. growing, Landon says he is now focusing on creating Second Chance coffee; which will open up work opportunities to formerly incarcerated people of color.

Woodstock Coffee Co in Woodstock.

"As being someone who had legal challenges before and had to start at a different place than other people that I knew, I found it very difficult to get some funding, so I wanted to make it a little-bit easier for people of color and previously incarcerated," Landon Jr. said.

It is a labor of love with his family-owned business.

"My father and I actually roast the coffee ourselves," explained Landon Jr. "He makes the cold brew."

His brother-in-law recently started a Go-Fund-Me to help him with this passion project, and it quickly received support. 

More than $40,000 dollars have been donated. 

"I was just grateful for that opportunity and plan to do a lot of things with it," Landon Jr. said.

"Part of it has already been used to secure larger roasters that we need and more coffee product to get these things going."

It is an unexpected blessing for Landon, and he says he hopes he can now pass that on to others out there looking for a second chance. "I was just overall excited and amazed that people would put forth that type of money to help us with what we’re trying to do," said Landon.

Woodstock Coffee Co. also sells its coffee at the Woodstock Farmer's market on Saturdays.