Business Spotlight - Harvest Moon Coffee & Specialty

Bob Wolbach (right) with his three children - Anna, Sam and Josh.

Coffee lovers line up for their morning fix at Glenwood’s Harvest Moon Coffee and Specialty.

Bob Wolbach’s priorities for his popular Glenwood coffee and ice cream shop have always been about more than just the bottom line.

Harvest Moon Coffee and Specialty is about community. It’s about family.

“That’s the most important thing,” Wolbach said during a recent interview. “Some people get into business to conquer the world and make money. That’s not what we’re in it for. It’s definitely for the people. People over profits.

“It’s important to treat people with dignity and respect.”

Wolbach has owned and operated Harvest Moon since 2016, when he transitioned from being a technology specialist in the corporate world to owning his own business. During his time working in technology, Wolbach said he was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He missed birthdays, holidays and other special family events.

In 2014, he decided to take his life in a different direction.

“I  always wanted to own my own restaurant, coffee shop and I think it was the end of 2014 and I decided to just quit,” he said. “I became a stay-at-home dad for awhile. Then, the building on the square became available. I cashed in my retirement and I figured instead of taking a gamble on the stock market, I’ll just gamble on myself.”

Harvest Moon was originally located at 405 Sharp St., on the south side of Glenwood’s Town Square. The business opened in July 2016, coinciding with RAGBRAI’s last visit to Glenwood. Wolbach and his crew were swamped that first weekend, serving hundreds of ice cream cones to bicycle-riding patrons.

Wolbach laughed when thinking back to his first day in business.

“I figured the best way to learn to fly is to jump from the highest tree,” he said. “It is nice that RAGBRAI is coming back again.”

Harvest Moon was a hit from the beginning. The coffees, specialty drinks, fruit smoothies and ice cream offerings filled a niche in the community.

The location on Town Square had seating for patrons who wanted to enjoy a warm or cold specialty drink with friends or family. It was a popular gathering place.

Then came COVID-19 in March 2020.

“We were definitely already looking at having a drive-thru, but starting the business, I didn’t just want to be a coffee drive-thru. I wanted a place where people could come, sit down, communicate and have camaraderie,” Wolbach said. “COVID definitely did change that with the restrictions of how many people could be within six feet of each other and those kinds of things.”

In December 2020, Wolbach transitioned Harvest Moon to a drive-thru business at 501 S. Locust St. It quickly became a go-to destination for coffee-loving commuters and ice cream loving adults and children.
The line of motorists at Harvest Moon in the morning rivals the lines at the national-brand coffee stores in larger cities.

Wolbach said the most popular drinks at Harvest Moon are the hot lattes, ice lattes, frappes and the cold brew. On the ice cream side, cones, sundaes, shakes, malts and Mooner Mixers (similar to a DQ Blizzard) are all popular.

“We try to do something for everybody,” he said. “The products that we use, we use across our spectrum. A lot of the products we use for coffees, we use for our ice creams.”

Wolbach said using high-quality products and ingredients, like Ghiradelli chocolate and carmel, sets Harvest Moon apart from other ice cream shops.

“People work hard for their money, they deserve a good quality product,” he said. “We try to use quality products across the board.”

One of the newest offerings at Harvest Moon is a vegan, non-dairy ice cream. Wolbach said the non-dairy option was requested by a customer who has a grandson who is lactose intolerant.

Wolbach operates Harvest Moon with his three children – Anna, Sam and Josh – and also has some high-school aged employees. For many of them, it’s their first job.

“I like having employees who this is their first job, because as a parent and as a business owner, we need to teach the next generation a good work ethic and what that is,” he said. “We’ve got to teach these kids what they’re going to be and have the tools they need to do whatever they do in life. I tell the kids, when you’re part of Harvest Moon, you’re part of the family.

“We’re just a family business and we’re here for other families.”

Harvest Moon’s current hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8-3 p.m. Wolbach said those hours will likely be expanded during the warm summer months.

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NOTE - Business Spotlight is sponsored in The Opinion-Tribune by the Mills County Chamber Of Commerce.


The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
P.O. Box 377, Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-527-3191
Phone: 712-623-2566
Fax: 712-527-3193

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