Update and Reflection
Quick Year-end Reflection
I understand now why people always write about things after they happen. It's far easier, less painful, and allows you to shape and control the narrative. When a house is completed you can describe in detail the parts of it you like the most while leaving out the parts you don't. You can talk about how amazing the kitchen and living room are but not say anything about those pieces of unfinished trim or how the master bathroom was actually a total disaster. When you're standing in a house with stud walls and no roof yet everybody can see through it and there's no hiding anything.
Thankfully we have made a lot of progress in building Bridge City. We're on our way to growing the wholesale portion of our business more than we anticipated for the first year of business, our sourcing model has worked out well, mobile events have been great, and people have responded better than we could have asked in regards to the quality and flavor of our coffee. But we're standing in the middle of an unfinished house and it's clear as day that we haven't accomplished our goal of opening a shop yet. One of my personal goals for 2017 was not to allow one negative thing to overshadow a handful of positive accomplishments. So despite not opening our doors to the public yet, I am incredibly grateful for the progress we have made.
In this post I talked about a potential partnership with another organization that would allow us to open a shop. Our relationship with that group is still in a great spot. However, it became clear to us both that it will be better for them to open the coffee portion of the shop fully under their own branding. We're looking forward to seeing what they do and being a part of it behind the scenes.
Jon and I have been back and forth on how and when to open our shop. We've juggled putting off the shop for a couple years to raise the capital on our own through wholesale, having purely financial investors, taking out loans, selling our kidneys, crowd funding (which is worse than selling our kidneys), and pretty much any other means of obtaining the capital we need. Roasting and wholesale will always be a part of our business but we don't want to spend the next couple years only doing that, crowd funding doesn't seem like the best route, and we're not going to take out a massive loan to put the business significantly in the red. However, I recently had a great conversation with a couple well accomplished, smart business-minded guys over the weekend and they helped me land on a solid idea for obtaining the capital we need. I'm not going to write about now, but if it works, we may begin building our actual shop mid to late 2018.
The Bridge City Model
Through the ups and downs of our first 9 months as a business our primary goal still remains to create an avenue that allows us to hire and train employees in a setting that stretches and grows them while equipping them with a better understanding of who they are as unique individuals. Amidst a boatload of uncertainty, that goal has been cemented in our minds. It's helped clarify our vision to inspire and equip people to love and care for those around them by first being able to take care of themselves. As it relates to the old fishing adage, we don't want to stop at teaching someone how to fish. When our employees move on from Bridge City we want them to leave with plenty of fish of their own, the knowledge of how to fish, and most importantly the ability to teach others to fish.