Little Amps planning second coffeehouse in downtown Harrisburg

November 29. 2012 11:00AM - Last modified: November 29. 2012 11:47AM

Jason Scott

Little Amps Coffee Roasters, a neighborhood coffeehouse in the Olde Uptown area of Midtown Harrisburg, is planning to open a second location in the downtown next year.

Little Amps owner Aaron Carlson moved back to Harrisburg about three years ago and bought a small commercial roaster and several hundred pounds of coffee beans. Photo/File

WCI Partners LP, the city-based development company leading the revitalization efforts in Olde Uptown, is in the process of buying the three-story building at 133 State St., President David Butcher said.

The property is across the street from the recently opened Second and State office building owned by WCI.

The developer hopes to begin renovations by the end of January, Butcher said.

The first-floor retail space would be leased to Little Amps, while the top two floors would be used for two two-bedroom market-rate apartments. The apartment units would feature exposed brick and hardwood floors as well as stainless steel appliances, Butcher said.

The developer also owns and leases the coffee shop building at 1836 Green St. to Little Amps.

Little Amps owner Aaron Carlson said he would like to open the downtown location by May.

"I always wanted one closer to the business community," said Carlson, who opened the neighborhood retail shop last fall as a hangout for coffee enthusiasts.

With its close proximity to the state Capitol, the second location would target people who work in the downtown, he said. The current site appeals more to those who live in Olde Uptown and the surrounding area.

Coffee history

About three years ago, Carlson moved back to Harrisburg and bought a small commercial roaster and several hundred pounds of coffee beans. He began roasting in a local warehouse and selling his beans online with the idea of one day opening a coffee shop.

He found his opportunity in Olde Uptown, and the Little Amps brand has flourished.

"It worked better than I thought it would," Carlson said.

He said his hope is to build out from Harrisburg and expand the brand in Central Pennsylvania.

"He's doing well, and there is strong demand for high-quality coffee," Butcher said of the Little Amps concept, which emphasizes professional coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.