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By Betty Vanderwielen

Early Morning Coffee Available Again


Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder

Gus Batchelder is ready and eager to greet his customers at Crescent Mountain Coffee.

SEELEY LAKE – The miniature cabin on Highway 83 at Bison and Bear Center will once again be offering coffee and light breakfast foods to early morning risers and others working, shopping, recreating or just passing through Seeley Lake. The former Moose B’ Mornin Espresso will open April 1 under the name Crescent Mountain Coffee and with new proprietor Gus Batchelder.

A 2016 graduate of Seeley-Swan High School, Batchelder attended Montana State University (MSU) last fall. After one semester he realized he wanted to go in a different career direction, possibly outdoor education. He registered for a five-month course through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The course he chose takes place in Patagonia, Chile, in October. Batchelder said the opportunity is both very exciting – and very expensive.

In thinking about ways to raise money for tuition and expenses, Batchelder reflected on the business course he had taken at MSU. He said he enjoyed the class, learned a lot and looked for a chance to practice what he had learned.

“Coffee,” Batchelder said, “is the most actively traded commodity in the world, except for oil. So getting into that industry is really intriguing to me. So this coffee shop is more than just selling great coffee. It’s being connected to world trade, politics, ancient history and international business all through a great cup of coffee. I think that’s really cool and exciting!”

With the backing of his parents, Batchelder started researching the business possibilities. He visited with Montana Coffee Traders in Whitefish and Black Coffee Roasting Company in Missoula. From both he received helpful information and training in the art of making lattes, cappuccinos and other specialty coffees. In addition, he said he also researched on internet and watched a lot of YouTube videos.

Batchelder said he intends to start small, adding new food or drink options as demand dictates. He will feature Black Coffee Roasting Company coffee, which is craft roasted, organic and imported from Columbia.

He added, “With my travel plans to Chile and further travels planned for South America, I’ll be looking for business opportunities to connect the coffee shop to coffee farmers.”

Batchelder said he chose the name Crescent Mountain Coffee because Crescent is one of the mountains in the section of the Swan Range that overlooks the coffee cabin. He has created a logo and is in the process of building a new sign for the business. Once that is ready, he will open shop. April 1 is his self-imposed deadline opening date, though he hopes to be ready earlier.

Crescent Mountain Coffee will be open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The early morning start is intended to accommodate Pyramid Lumber shift workers who begin work at 6 a.m. Batchelder said he wanted to stress that the shop will consistently maintain those hours, as well as the seven-day work schedule, from April to October.

Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder

With his new espresso machine, Gus Batchelder will be able to fill the tallest of orders.

About the Patagonia trip, Batchelder said it is affiliated with the University of Utah and allows a student to receive the equivalent of a year’s college course credit through the intensive five month course. Batchelder will join a group of 18 other students from around the world.

“I’ll be learning about wilderness safety,” he said. “By the end I’ll be certified as a wilderness first responder. I’ll do things like rock climbing and kayaking and mountaineering and those type of things. So it’s going to be fun. I’m excited.”

Despite the five month interruption, Batchelder said he intends to continue actively managing the business through point of sales software.

“My plans for the coffee shop are long term,” he said. “Even while I’m studying in Chile, I will be making sure Crescent Mountain Coffee is providing Seeley Lake with a great coffee experience!


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