The aroma of fresh roasted coffee wafting around Kansas City is not a recent trend.
In 1899, Frank Ennis (1866-1962) became Kansas City’s first coffee roaster. As the president of the Ennis-Hanly-Blackburn Coffee Co., he created the popular brand Golden Wedding at his plant located at 930 Mulberry St.
The company quickly grew to produce multiple brands of coffee, along with teas, spices and extracts. During its first expansion, Ennis moved his plant to the River Market area. By 1904, he had taken his business operations to 512-514-516 Delaware.
Available in one pound cans, early labels depicted a family gathered around the table. The can had a pry-open lid, similar to a paint can. Later, cans were opened using a key attached to the bottom, which first appeared in 1889 on sardine cans.
While coffee could be stored in the can with a pry-open lid, the key-opened style cans were difficult to reopen repeatedly so coffee would be stored in a decorative canister.
By 1940, the company was affiliated with Western Grocer Co., best known for the Jack Sprat brand of canned and dry goods.
The plant on Delaware was expanded for additional warehouses. Ennis sold the company and retired in 1945.
Certified Brands, Inc., a division of Topeka-based The Fleming Co., a large distributor of food products nationwide, took over the Golden Wedding coffee brand and the roasting plant was still located at 512 Delaware.
The can shown here dates to 1964 and includes the reminder: “Please remember – This is a delicious blend of High Mountain grown coffees. Roasted by our exclusive High Humidity process, which releases more cups per pound. Measure less to suit your taste.”
By the early 1970s, the plant had closed and was renovated as part of the then-trendy River Quay redevelopment, housing several restaurants on the first floor.
Today the building houses Plexpod and bears a marker to denote its original occupant.