Camaraderie strong as the coffee served at veteran-owned shop

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BATAVIA, Ill. — Along the banks of the Fox River sits a small business with an unusual name: Gun Barrel Coffee.

Inside you’ll find Sal Dazzo a U.S. army vet turned head coffee roaster.

“Our company is two years old. It started in a three-season room,” Dazzo said. “It was getting smokey in there and finally my wife told me to take the stuff and find a space so that’s what we did.”

It is a place for not only Dazzo but everyone who served. It is a place where camaraderie is as strong as the coffee served up.

“When other veterans come in here, it’s just natural,” Dazzo said. “We talk about our times in service. Some of them just pour their heart out and there’s definitely been a little tear shedding.”

As a veteran himself, Dazzo knows what it’s like to return home and feel out of place. Dazzo found solitude and a new hobby in roasting coffee beans.

“I just loved doing the mixing and coming up with my own blends,” he said.

It became what he calls “Bean Therapy.”

When he opened Gun Barrel Coffee, Dazzo wanted it to be more than just a coffee bean storefront, he wanted it to feel like home for vets like himself. He draped the walls with military flags and emblems and encouraged the vets who came in to sell their own wares in his shop.

“I can’t tell you what it means to me”, says army veteran Michael Speva. “It’s hard to find someone to help you out and going through it with another veteran who gets it is awesome.”

A dollar of every sale at Gun Barrel Coffee is donated to veterans and first responder support programs. Gun Barrel Coffee sells their roasts both in their Batavia store and online.

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