In 1869 on a bustling city street a small coffee company opened its doors for the first time with one goal: give the customer great coffee at a fair price. It worked! Within weeks, people were talking about this little shop that had such great tasting coffee and the smell when you walked in for the first time was like being in coffee heaven.
Timothy Michael Ward, the founder along with his wife Mary, soon became a household name throughout the greater Newark area for their great selection and tasting coffee. Shortly after Mr. Ward became ill and died. His wife wanted to sell the business but only to someone with the same passion for coffee that she and her husband shared. My great grandfather was that man.
In the early 1900s he took over as owner of T.M. Ward Coffee. He had years of experience working with coffee in the greater New York-New Jersey area selling, trading and importing coffee. He put his knowledge to work by expanding the selection of coffees but keeping quality as his top priority. Soon after graduating from Rutgers University, my grandfather, William Sommer, joined the company as the first on -the-street salesman. He covered the greater Newark area educating the people about Ward’s coffee.
By the late 1950s Ward Coffee had nearly tripled in size and needed a bigger location to pack and distribute their coffee. They still wanted to keep a store front for walk-in customers and 944 Broad St. became the new location for the business.
My father, Robert P. Sommer, also joined the company. He talked his father into again expanding the coffee selection and bringing in nuts, dried fruit and candy to the store. It became such a hit in the area that there were days they couldn’t roast peanuts or pack up candy fast enough. The company soon expanded adding more packaging machines and grinders, adding equipment servicing and increasing the delivery service.
In the late 1960s Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, was where everyone went to do their shopping. But this changed after the riots. Businesses left the area along with long time residents of Newark, but my father and grandfather knew better. Newark and its people had played such a big role in the making of Ward Coffee they both agreed they could never leave the city.
Jeff Sommer, Scott Sommer, Robert Sommer Jr.
Now we are proud to be the fourth generation of Sommers at Ward Coffee-- with over a 145 years of experience and still in the heart of Newark. We are carrying on the family tradition with the same motto: Great coffee at a fair price, along with all of our other products we have to offer. The knowledge, craftmanship and love for coffee can be tasted in every cup of Ward Coffee.
We hope you enjoy our coffee and products as much as we love making them for you!