We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Holder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m from Southern San Diego (raised in Imperial Beach/Coronado) and currently live in Imperial Beach. I’ve always felt there’s something calming about being in the ‘corner’ of the country. Not much of a crowd guy, places like Borderfield State Park, Tijuana River Valley and the TJ Sloughs have always been a place of quiet and beautiful nature that’s a quick escape away to. I’d like to think the isolation and quietness can be found in my photos.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My friend Seth and I launched VISITOR Coffee Roasters about 5 months back after dreaming for years and roasting for the last year and change. We’re super proud of it and beyond excited for the future. The business/permitting side of things have definitely been a challenge but we know doing things the right way (compostable bags/packaging, ethically sourced beans) are going to pay off in the long run. We’re a small batch coffee roasting company out of Imperial Beach primarily dedicated to single origin offerings. Right now, we’re featuring a Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. As these are ever-changing, constantly trying new coffees is exciting and fun, and each origin we decide to feature we love. Eventually, we’ll be opening a café (location to be determined) and you’ll start seeing us in stores. Even though we’re a new company, we’re trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible from the start, and we’ll soon be venturing more into that realm, beyond simply compostable bags, recycled plastic bottle t-shirts, and eco-friendly packaging. After all we’re all just visitors on this planet.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
An ideal day would start with a cup of coffee, then a sunrise walk and water plunge or surf down the Tijuana Sloughs into the TJ River Valley with some binos and a camera for some leisurely bird watching (couple harrier hawks frequent Borderfield State Park). After that, we’d shoot up to Mount Laguna for a nice hike around Mount Laguna Lake. The views there are insane and the fact that it’s only 30-45 outside of San Diego is pretty wild. We’d venture back down for cocktail hour at Panama 66 and stroll around Balboa Park, then a Bottlecraft drink before a show at the Casbah with The Donkeys. The week would consist mainly of a schedule like this, but other places I love… Petco Park, Brew Bar, Dark Horse Coffee in Golden Hill, Dog Beach in Coronado, Lola 55, Evolution fast food, biking up and down the Coronado Strand, Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, Soda Bar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people! Family, friends and my girlfriend are owed a crazy amount of credit. Both my older brothers (Thomas and John) are two of the most adventurous and smart people I’ll ever meet and I consider them both heroes. I’m extremely lucky to have parents like mine that have supported me in whatever scattered thing I’m doing. Love them. Sally is my favorite human that I spend everyday with, and recently she’s been the most amazing dog mom to our new shepherd mutt, Fernando. Seth is my partner/founder at Visitor Coffee Roasters and without him we’d be absolutely nothing. He’s the brains behind the endeavor. He’s also a lifelong friend that worked with me for 7 years at Tartine in Coronado. In the coffee world, I’ve gotten to know local roasters like Bryan and Daniel from Dark Horse Coffee, and literally everything they seem to do in regards to their company is so cool and innovative. Seth and I at Visitor look up to them, and they’re the nicest and raddest dudes! Tyler from Tired Eyes and the Kennedy’s from James Coffee co and Mark from Latigo Coffee as well are inspiring to say the least. Artists like David Klinker from Orange and Park, my cousin Andy Holder, Ty Williams and Sean Spellman seem to see the world different than most humans from an art standpoint and it’s amazing. Patagonia, WiLDCOAST (Serge Dedina and co), John McCauley, Ian Urtnowski, musicians like Kevin Morby and Michael Nau, Audubon Society. Basically, way to many people to say thank you to! List can go on and on. Oh, and the San Diego Padres are a massive part of life.