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Meet Our Members | January 2024

Name: Alyssa McKeon & Luke Simon

Business: Witching Hour Provisions

witching Hour mom pic.jpg

What would make a young couple start a business in which they had no background producing a product in which they had no experience? Alyssa McKeon & Luke Simon wanted to make a difference.

Alyssa grew up in Western Massachusetts—Luke in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Alyssa had an interest in crafting and homesteading. Luke had acquired the Yankee habit of fixing and reusing everything he could. They met at Achievement Network in Boston, an education non-profit where Alyssa worked in events and Luke was a data engineer.

“We moved to Contoocook in 2018,” Luke recalls. “We both wanted to live in a small New England town where we could be part of the local community and make a difference. When we decided to start a business, we wanted it to serve the community we called home.”

“Witching Hour Coffee was born out of a need to make something tangible and to connect with our community,” he continues. “As we started roasting our own coffee, we learned how much waste there is behind the scenes and we wanted to do better.”

“The name Witching Hour has a special meaning to us,” Alyssa explains. “Salem, Massachusetts holds a special place in our hearts because we lived there for a few years before moving to Hopkinton. Our son, Owen, also taught us that the Witching Hour, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, is when babies get a bit cranky and parents need more coffee.”

“We didn’t want to open a coffee shop,” she shares,  “so we decided to use the profit from the coffee business to open a retail store where we could offer our community something it lacked—a refill station. We opened Witching Hour Provisions in 2021.”

Luke and Alyssa are dedicated to curating eco-friendly products that empower customers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic. Their mission is rooted in the belief that protecting the environment is extremely important. They believe everyone deserves access to affordable, sustainable, personal care and home cleaning essentials.

“We all work in the business,” Alyssa states. “Luke is still a data engineer at Achievement Network, and I’m Owen’s primary caregiver while Luke is working. I handle the day-to-day operations of Witching Hour Provisions, and my sister, Hannah, is our store manager. Luke handles coffee inventory and roasting schedules. We set vision and goals and decide on new events together.”

Witching Hour Provisions offers other products in addition to coffee. It has an entire line of ‘Made by Witching Hour’ eco-friendly products including beeswax candles, lip balms, shower steamers, toilet bombs, handcrafted and upcycled notebooks made from records, and hard cover books.

“We choose our products carefully,” Luke says. “For coffee, we read lots of reviews and cupping notes, do a lot of taste tests, consider the farm and region it’s coming from, and what the resulting cost will be to our customers. Eco-friendly, good tasting, and affordable coffee is important to us.”

“For the store, our priorities are eco-friendly, useful, affordable, made in North America, and produced by women-owned companies.” Alyssa and Luke truly enjoy being in business.

“We both like making our own products,” Alyssa declares. “We like getting in the flow at the coffee roaster and making candles. But most of all, we love connecting with our customers at the store, fairs and other events. Their direct feedback and suggestions have shaped who we are.”

“We see a very bright future for small sustainability-driven businesses,” Luke says. “More and more wholesalers make the packaging we need to offer affordable, compostable alternatives.”

“Small businesses can contribute toward environmental change by evaluating the packaging their products come in and demanding change. They can also donate to local groups doing grassroots change and encourage their fellow businesses to do the same.”

“Small sustainability-oriented businesses face two major challenges,” he continues. “One is greenwashing by large companies, which can mislead customers to believe that a product is recyclable, compostable or otherwise better for the environment than it really is.”

“The other is understanding customers. When we hold the bar too high for our consumers and create environments where they don’t feel comfortable making mistakes, they’re not going to shop with us. We need to create a space for our customers to grow and change.” 

“NOFA-NH membership benefits our business by meeting like-minded folks while participating in the community and learning events.”

“Our favorite business memory is finally opening our brick and mortar store,” Alyssa exclaims. “It was a wild sprint from when we got into the space to our opening. We were so proud of what we had accomplished and what we were offering the community.”

“We’re still young, but it’s a small and mighty team behind the scenes. And we’re not perfect. We have a toddler, life gets hard and you’ll find plastic in our home. But we learn, we try, and we don’t give up. We hope you don’t either.”

Witching Hour Provisions is located at 905 Main Street in Contoocook. It’s open seven days a week —Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. You can reach them by phone at 603-505-8107 or by email at hello@witchinghourprovisions.com. Their website is witchinghourprovisions.com.

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