He is looking for investors to fund his vision for an on-site coffee shop at his Rogue American Apparel storefront on Hudson Bend Road.
Walking around a currently empty space he motions where an espresso machine would sit and points to where he needs to install three sinks.
Veterans sharing stories over a cup of coffee can be therapeutic and represents a good extension of his brand, but the key is creating an intense, authentic coffee, Whitlock said.
“I was in Italy when I was 22, and I was a Marine,” he said. “I didn’t drink coffee, and I was trying this, and I was thinking ‘my goodness, this is great.’ And traveling from Afghanistan to Yemen, everyone has their own coffee, and I always tried to taste their local stuff.”
Today, Whitlock has moved Invader Coffee forward with a small team of employees and expert roasters to sell a line of coffees with unique flavors such as chocolate, cinnamon–and a customer favorite–bourbon and bacon.
“Our coffee beans come from Africa, South America and Central America–from all over the world, depending on the flavor we want,” he said.
Invader Coffee donates a portion of its proceeds back to the farmers who grow the coffee. Donations assist the communities with local initiatives, like improving the supply of clean water, Whitlock said.
After evaluating for quality, coffee beans purchased by Invader Coffee are air roasted at 360 degrees to remove the acidic levels. Flavors are added in various ways, but in the case of the company’s whiskey flavor, Whitlock soaks the beans in the whiskey inside authentic wooden barrels.
Prior to launching his business lines, Whitlock worked as a senior executive protection specialist with Dell Inc. His Rogue American line of apparel includes athletic gear for men and women as well as accessories like beard oil, soap and firearm holsters. He also operates an outdoor gym reserved for veterans, active duty personnel, first responders and those preparing to enter the military.
The gym and his coming coffee shop offer a place for people to gather.
“Who doesn’t love sitting there, having coffee with your buds,” he said.
4701 Hudson Bend Road