Introducing the Swamp Donkey Roastery – Editor’s Note: We spoke with Fiona and Dave Sokolich, the owners of Swamp Donkey Roastery, the parent company of Wicked Grande Coffee to learn about their business.
When did you launch your business and why coffee?
I started thinking about creating the business in the spring of 2013 after a lot of encouragement from Joyce Colmar, owner of Vino Loco and the Dearborn Street Market. When we closed Dave’s architectural design and drafting firm, we decided we would focus on products if we ever opened another business. Coffee is the second largest commodity traded in the world behind oil.
How long have you lived in the area and why did you move here?
We moved here late fall of 2012 from Northern Maine. We were at a point in our lives when health, situations and opportunities converged and created the right timing. We also have family members in the area.
What did you do professionally earlier in your careers?
I’ve been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years and I keep my credentials current. Dave’s career focused on architecture, engineering, and construction.
What makes Swamp Donkey Roastery unique?
We start with coffee beans that have the highest quality and we are always looking for the best Arabica Coffee Beans. We roast in a Scandinavian profile that’s rare in the U.S. and we’ve altered the profile to complement our specific beans. The method is based on small batch roasting. Roasting started as a hobby when we lived in Maine and Dave began to produce some great beverages based on his research.
What’s a swamp donkey and have you ever met one in Maine?
A Swamp Donkey is an affectionate term for a moose, derived from their summertime propensity to feed on water and swamp-based plants while being in the water to keep cool. We’ve seen moose in the woods, fields, alongside roads, and we’ve had a few close encounters while driving. We’ve even had them in our yard.
What do you like about being a vendor at the Dearborn Market?
Meeting locals along with winter residents and travelers that are visiting the area is always interesting. We also enjoy the positive reactions to our coffee.
What are some of your other interests?
We enjoy outdoor activities, photography, traveling, exploring, woodworking, sewing, movies, and spending time with our son Nick. He’s a junior at Lemon Bay High School and a member of the band. We enjoy supporting the school bands in various ways.