Justin Bergmann, the manager of Muddy Waters Coffee House, has a free-spirited and individualistic attitude towards life as well as a friendly, easy-going personality.
Bergmann's job allows him to interact with the community of Geneseo and the diverse student body, and provide for them a daily stop for a caffeine boost, a retreat for finishing school work or just a relaxing place to hang out.
Born in Los Angeles, Bergmann moved to Northern California where he lived for the majority of his life. It was only about a year ago that the California native made the move to upstate N.Y. He enjoys the small town feeling of Geneseo and plans to live in the area for quite a while.
"I always knew that I would do my own thing," said Bergmann about the earlier years of his life. After graduating from college in 1988 with a degree in American history, Bergmann joined the U.S. forces fighting wildfires in California. As part of a helicopter rappel crew, he helped to put out many backcountry wildfires.
When the wildfire season was over, Bergmann worked in the advertising business. The challenges and creativity involved were welcomed aspects of the job, but the constant deadlines and 15-hour workdays were exasperating.
"Most of all, I didn't enjoy working for corporations that didn't care," said Bergmann. This feeling was the catalyst that propelled him to his job as manager of Muddy Waters.
Bergmann said he is intrigued by new and exciting places and has an extensive record of travel. He has travelled more than 600,000 miles around the United States and has spent a considerable amount of time in Europe. He spent three months in Italy and picked up the Italian language quickly. Although he was the verge of permanently moving to Rome after falling in love with the alluring atmosphere, Bergmann decided to stay in San Diego.
A year ago, Bergmann left California, his home for most of his life, and ventured to upstate N.Y. It was in the Rochester location of Muddy Waters that he met owner Jacob Kane, and the two began to work together.
Bergmann said he enjoys working in a college town and being able to provide the environment of a local coffee house to the community. He takes pleasure in observing the diversity and individuality of all the people that come into the café and seeing the different paths they take in life. Ironically, Bergmann is not a big fan of coffee: "It jacks me up too much, but I do love a dry cappuccino," he said.
Many students know him for the long, bushy beard that he boasts. Bergmann has had a beard for over six years and admits that once he started growing a beard, he just couldn't stop. "One winter I shaved it off and it was just too cold."
Bergmann is thoroughly pleased with his job at Muddy Waters and plans to continue helping owner Jacob Kane with his coffee houses. Bergmann definitely plans on remaining in Geneseo for quite some time, but when asked about what he will do in the future he replied, "Who knows where my journeys will take me?"