What I Wish I Knew | April 2018

David Fertig, Co-owner of Wholly Joe’s Coffee House and Bakery

words and photo by Kyle Cochrun



Name: David Fertig

Occupation: Co-owner of Wholly Joe’s Coffee House and Bakery

Hometown: Barberton, Ohio


What is something you wish you knew before you got started?

For the first shop I ever opened, The Bohemian Java in Barberton, I didn’t know a thing except for pulling shots, which I’d been doing at home. Going into it, I probably would have preferred to have started roasting off the bat. We used to outsource all our coffees and now we roast our own. A lot of cost-saving that way. Plus, I can do to the beans what I want to do to them. I roast my beans a lot different than most places do. I don’t take them to an extreme dark because I like them to have a lot of their own characteristics, so we don’t roast with heating elements or propane or natural gas. Our roasting process helps keep everything organic.

What inspired you to open a coffee shop?

I’ve been making different kinds of coffee for my wife for as long as we’ve been married. One day, she came home with an espresso machine for me. I started experimenting with that and getting better at making drinks at home. Then I’d take the machine to work and serve co-workers, and I’d take it to family get-togethers. People kept saying, “You need to open up your own shop!”

By career, I’m a nurse, but I got tired of that field and wanted to get out of it. I’d been in the medical field for a long time, so it was time for a change. I eventually opened my first shop, and even though it was a very small-time operation, I liked it. I realized that I wanted to do this this on a larger scale.