Owner of Morning Glory Coffee and Tea Inc.
Where did you learn to ski?
Killington, Vt./Cannon, N.H./Snowbird, Utah
Where do you live now?
If you weren’t doing this, what would you do instead?
I’d probably work as a naturalist in Yellowstone National Park. That’s what I did before opening the business, and I have a degree in horticulture.
Christopher Burke and his wife Laura opened Morning Glory Coffee and Tea Inc. in March 2005. Now with a decade of business experience in West Yellowstone, Burke knows that diversifying is the only way to survive the cyclical tourist traffic in one of the Yellowstone’s most heavily visited gateway towns.
“It’s a hard balance in West [Yellowstone],” Burke said. “If we were just a coffee shop, it’d be really difficult when the faucet turns off.” A couple hundred people a day visit his retail shop during the summer, he said, while he may see five or six customers per day during the offseason.
To make it work, Burke has grown the coffee roasting side of the business, and now he says, he provides wholesale beans to establishments throughout southwest Montana, the park, and nationwide through orders from morningglorycoffeee.net.
Burke recently purchased a new roaster that will recirculate the heat used to burn off the emissions back into the machine, using less fuel to roast the next batch. It will double his roasting capacity, while cutting the emissions and carbon footprint by 97 percent, he said.
“[The new roaster] allows us to have the capacity to take on more year-round accounts, breaking us out of the seasonal cycle.”