Swatara Coffee Company, a family-run coffeeshop with locations in Jonestown and Annville, has been bought by family-owned Ancestor Coffeehouse and Creperie.
Former owners Joanna Guldin-Noll and John Noll began discussions with Ancestor’s Stammel family late November 2022. Ownership was officially transferred in late February.
“Swatara joining the Ancestor team is a perfect fit,” said John Noll. “Rick, Pam and Ally — they really care about the communities they serve and they’re gonna bring additional opportunities to the employees of both Swatara Coffee and Ancestor Coffeehouse.”
So what’s changing? While Swatara’s coffee supplier is now Ancestor’s sister company Sonder Coffee Company, the menu, decor, and layout are remaining mostly the same — for now.
“For now, we are taking the time to review their processes and their best practices,” Ally Stammel said. “We’re not changing anything for at least a few weeks or months.”
“We’ll probably do a big revamp in May or June where we can redo the interior of the spaces and kind of release any other menu changes.”
Rick Stammel noted that Ancestor had purchased equipment from 3 J’s Coffee when it closed last month. They are upgrading Swatara’s espresso machines, freezers, refrigerators, tables, and more.
Both the Stammels and the Nolls emphasized that they had similar values, particularly when it comes to employees.
“Quite honestly, that was one of the things that attracted us and really kind of helped us make the decision,” Rick Stammel said of Swatara’s staff. “We visited the locations and were very impressed by the people. The thing we’re enjoying the most is getting to know these young people and working with them.”
In other frequently asked questions, Stammel noted that while changes are still being considered, the Swatara name is unlikely to change.
He also said that serving crepes at the Jonestown location is not possible, due to the site’s small size, and that doing so at the Annville location would require major renovations.
Rick said Joanna and John have been very helpful through the transition process. The Nolls both see the change as a positive thing and trust the Stammels to carry on their work.
“We’ve received really positive feedback, both in person and on social media,” said Joanna Noll when asked what she’d say to customers worried about the change. “Give them a chance. In Lebanon Valley, we’re all in this together, and we’re all neighbors.”
“I’ve never really thought of them as a competitor, either,” said John Noll. “I believe small businesses need to work together and, collectively, the coffeeshops in Lebanon Valley have shifted the paradigm for what good coffee looks like because of the unique products they offer and how much of an asset they are to the communities they serve.”
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