Rook Coffee is a staple in Monmouth County


Allie Kuo

Holly Migliaccio opened Rook Coffee in 2010 with her childhood friend, Shawn Kingsley.

Allie Kuo

Chances are, you may be familiar with a little black bird and its namesake coffee stores that have been popping up all over Monmouth County in the past couple of years. Rook Coffee, established in 2010, is a specialty coffee company that has become a staple for locals in need of a caffeine kick.

Perhaps their New Orleans Style Cold Brew or Guatemala with cream and sugar is a necessity to get through the day. Maybe it’s their fig butter on a flat bagel that just can’t be found anywhere else. Whatever it is that people love about Rook, they have co-founders and co-CEOs Holly Migliaccio and Shawn Kingsley to thank.

Migliaccio, a West Long Branch native, attended the University of Delaware and lived in both San Francisco and New York City after college to pursue her professional career. In 2008, Migliaccio “took a leap of faith” and resigned from her corporate job in New York City. After embarking on a three-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, she returned home to Monmouth County where she decided to open a business with childhood friend Kingsley.

“The original inspiration came from my business partner Shawn proposing a coffee shop business idea, knowing that I had left my old career and didn’t have a ‘plan’ for my future career,” Migliaccio said.

Though Rook Coffee was Migliaccio’s first business, she was able to pull relevant knowledge from her own work experience.

“Holding various management positions over seven years in sales, marketing, operations and training, I built a well-rounded set of business skills that eventually prepared me for my own entrepreneurial venture,” Migliaccio said.

Migliaccio and Kingsley’s hard work paid off with their creation of the company that now has ten coffee bars and a roastery and production facility located in Long Branch, as well as a bottled cold brew business and an online consumer base. The small business has also created 150 local jobs, Migliaccio said.

Each cup of their coffee is made to order, with freshly roasted beans sourced from countries such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the aforementioned Guatemala.

“We purchase coffee from an importer, and then roast the coffee in our roastery and production facility,” Migliaccio said. “Like any food, coffee can get stale. Owning multiple steps in the supply chain allows us to source amazing coffees and provide them to customers as fresh as humanly possible.”

For Migliaccio, the most rewarding part of her own experience is having the ability to make people happy every day.

“Whether it’s a sip of coffee, a smile, a note on a cup or a quick uplifting and great conversation, we have the ability to change someone’s day for the positive very simply with Rook.”

“Whatever it is you do, do it really, really well and don’t let other things distract you and take you in a different direction from what you’re really good at. In our world that would be offering tea or hot chocolate or more food options. We’re not good at that. We’re good at coffee, so that’s what we stay focused on,” Migliaccio said.