Coffee and Community | Tilton School

Coffee and Community

In the heart of New Hampshire’s capital city, just steps from the State House, sits Revelstoke Coffee. For locals, it’s become a Concord staple. The shop just celebrated its four-year anniversary and, according to Alex Stoyle ’10, their success has been more about community than caffeine.

“We did this for Concord, not for coffee,” says Stoyle, who co-founded Revelstoke with his wife Lyndsey in 2019. “We love coffee and enjoyed traveling and drinking specialty coffee all over the country and the world, so we recognized the need for something like Revelstoke in Concord. When this specific storefront opened up, we were like, ‘Oh my god. This is it.’”

Along the way, they’ve invested not just in their own business, but in the success of their neighbors on Main Street. “99% of the time, you’re not going to be the solution to people’s problems,” he says. “We’re really good at coffee, tea, and light breakfast items, but we love playing concierge too. We get to know our customers and what they’re looking for and send them to a place that does that well if it’s not us.” That philosophy has led to great partnerships — from locally sourced menu items, to collaborations with local breweries, to pop-up shops run by local merchants on the weekend — that give Revelstoke customers the feeling that they’re in a community hub as much as a coffee shop.

Their work is a culmination of what he’s learned from many experiences along the way, including a year at Tilton as a post-graduate student. Growing up in nearby Goffstown, Stoyle was a basketball standout who got serious about the sport a little later than most of his peers. “It wasn’t really until my junior year,” he says. “I played AAU ball and had a good year, and I realized I had no idea how any of this worked — trying to get a college scholarship, all of it.”

At the urging of his coaches, he began to consider prep school and ultimately ended up at Tilton, which was just a season removed from winning the 2009 Rebook National Prep School Championship. “I had a great time and played well but I also saw that I wasn’t necessarily going to end up where my teammates were going in basketball,” he recalls. “I got to understand that I was okay with that.” Stoyle says his time at Tilton, though initially focused on basketball, allowed him the opportunity to explore different interests and develop a sense of self-awareness that helped contribute to his future endeavors.

“I got to take a backseat to younger teammates who were beating me in practice and I embraced being a role player. That helped me be a little more accepting of being the weird kid on the team,” he says with a smile. “I was the kid who was more into art and music — I was okay with being the indie kid.”

Stoyle calls the post-graduate experience one of the best decisions he could have made and remembers feeling “miles ahead of” his peers at Brandeis University who arrived straight from their senior year of high school. It was during his time on the Waltham, MA campus that he first took an entrepreneurship class and realized that owning a business would become a north star for his future plans 

“I did this event called Three Day Startup where you had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to come up with a business, write a plan, and take it as far as you could,” he remembers. “It was the most exciting class I could have ever imagined — the group aspect, the business aspect, the problem-solving aspect.”

Now that he’s lived that exercise out in real life, Stoyle is enjoying reconnecting with Tilton to help bring those types of experiences to today’s students. So far, he’s visited with the school’s Entrepreneurship class and serves as a resource and sounding board for the course’s instructor, Connor Compton. “Just to hear the way that they’re thinking about new and exciting ways to teach kids is so cool,” he says. “Not just a class about entrepreneurship, but asking ‘how are we going to get these kids thinking in a hands-on way about starting a business?’”

Because if you ask him (no offense to his alma-mater) starting a business is a learning experience like no other. “It’s the best education I’ve ever had. It’s not just learning in one subject or being knowledgeable — it’s about having intelligence and understanding how things connect and how to take one subject and bridge it together with another.”

Armed with that experience, he found that his first job in sales out of college lacked the meaning and purpose he was chasing, and that his favorite days often had nothing to do with his work. “The ones that always stuck out to me were the days that were unpredictable and filled with anxiety,” laughs Stoyle. “I started to think about how I could make more days of my life like that and, ultimately, decided what better way than to open a restaurant?”

Four years later, Revelstoke is part of an emerging Main Street scene and Stoyle still enjoys the quirky items on his to-do list (like annually siphoning water out of the air conditioner). He’s started a new chapter by starting a shared kitchen space that can be used by local restaurants who need prep space or by emerging retailers who don’t have a comparable space of their own.

“We’re putting all of our eggs in this basket,” he says proudly. “We love Concord and we think it still has a ton of potential.”