Our Story

Swatara Coffee Co. has its origins in Afghanistan in 2013. (No, really!) John started dreaming of opening a coffee shop while he was deployed and engaged to Joanna. This year, they were finally able to make that dream come true after John left the Navy and they bought a Civil War-era house in Joanna’s hometown. Focused on creating community, they named their shop after a river that runs through the town.

Who We Are

Joanna is one half of SCC. Born in Lebanon County, she is a proud, lifelong NL Viking (yay, Class of 2004!).  John grew up in a small town bordering the city of Pittsburgh (yes, he’s a Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, and most things Pittsburgh fan). He had an early start in business, delivering newspapers for the town’s newspaper, starting when he was in fourth grade. Joanna and John met as trumpet players in Penn State’s Blue Band. 

After college, John decided to follow one of his dreams: Enlist in the Navy. He shipped off to boot camp expecting to live the life of a world-traveling sailor. Until Joanna sent him a letter. He sent one back, and by the time he was allowed to use a phone again after basic, they began talking on the phone every night for hours.

During a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, John began formulating his idea for a coffee shop. While they were dating, John fell in love with Lebanon County and Jonestown, in particular, as he visited Joanna’s family. Bringing a coffee shop to the town as a place for community and fellowship was something he became passionate about while he was so far away from home. The idea for Swatara Coffee Co.–and the name–was born.

Joanna and John married in Jonestown a month after he came back from deployment. After 6 1/2 years of service, John left the Navy and the pair began their journey to open Swatara Coffee Co.

Our Anchoring Beliefs

It’s pretty simple: We believe in doing the right thing. This mantra encompasses every component of our company. We value our neighbors and our community and want to be part of a strong, vibrant place we call home. We commit ourselves to being good stewards and responsible community members. This means sourcing as much as we can from local businesses and farms. It means being as environmentally friendly and eco-conscious as possible. It means valuing our employees and treating everyone with respect.


How We Source

Swatara Coffee Co. sources from local farms and purveyors as often as possible. We believe this not only provides a better quality product but, more importantly, it supports our neighbors, their businesses, and area farms.

Our Local Partnerships

We believe Pennsylvania (and especially Lebanon County!) is an awesome place to live with people and places that have so much to offer. We celebrate our community by working with the people and businesses here and believe that by choosing local and small, we’re able to have a big impact on our community.

We are proud to partner with

  • Long Acre Hollow (Jonestown, PA)
  • Sandi’s Breads (Palmyra, PA)
  • East Indies Coffee & Tea Company (Lebanon, PA)
  • Patches Family Creamery (Lebanon, PA)
  • Local artists including Jim Cascarino, David Schrierer, and Pam Gray
  • Northern Lebanon High School’s art and industrial technology programs (Fredericksburg, PA)
  • Stroopies (Lancaster City, PA)
  • #RepresentPA (State College, PA)
  • Allison Maple Farm (Ono, PA)