Posts tagged Employment model
First Employee, Partnerships, and Shop Update

It's quite humorous to look back at this post I wrote a year ago in July of 2017. I thought we were close to securing a storefront and that things were crazy then; if we only knew. But that's a huge reason we decided to chronicle things this way. It's too easy to forget things or create a biased perspective of how something happened. Writing about things as they occur not only allows people be a part of the experience but also provides an honest recap to look back on down the road.

Quick Recap Since We Last Wrote

I have started and re-started this post more times than I can count over the past few months. I wanted to provide more info but some things with other businesses over the last six months needed to be kept under wraps, some things were up in the air, and other times I was just too exhausted or defeated to write. It has been an insane roller coaster ride to say the least. Depending on the week, I may have written an update on anything ranging from buying a shop space to renting to nothing, starting back at square one. But through all that there have also been a lot of positive things and great relationships cultivated.

First Employee, Partnerships, and Shop Update

One of the relationships we have had a great time growing is with The Chocolate Moose Bakery. The owners and employees are awesome, not to mention that they make some amazing confections and savory things baked fresh daily. If you haven't checked out their bakery inside of M. Judson bookstore, you definitely should, and grab a cup of Bridge City Coffee while you're there. It has been great operating our mobile cart on their steps every Saturday during the downtown market, which has allowed us to hire our first employee! Brandon has been consistently working every weekend with us as well as roasting regularly with Jon. Not to mention he's a great artist and poet, check him out on instagram @seabrooks84. We have formed some other key partnerships that I'll write more on later as we solidify the details. A couple are local here in Greenville and a couple are going more in depth with some farm relationships.

Well, I can't hold back from writing about it anymore. If any of you know me you know when I get excited I'm like a four year old waiting to open a Christmas present. We're opening a shop soon!! In complete opposition to the last six months in general, this happened quicker and easier than we could have anticipated. We have a long way to go but started ripping out some walls and drop ceiling in the main dining area last week and it felt great. We'll be writing more details and posting new pictures soon so watch instagram for that.

 

Story Behind The Name Bridge City

The Work of Building Bridge City

I have been obsessed with greatness. It feels good to get that out of the way because my obsession with it has hindered me from getting anywhere close to achieving it. Funny how life works that way sometimes. The thing you think about the most constantly eludes you because blind focus on it becomes like walking through a forest while looking down at your feet the whole time, which we all know will guarantee that you run face first into a tree.

Part of the definition for the word "drive" is "motivation, ambition, single mindedness, doggedness, tenacity, commitment, aggression, vigor"; informal "get-up-and-go." Drive is what made some of the most successful people great: Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, Marie Curie, Bill Gates, Peyton Manning, etc. I'm not at all advocating that hard work and dedication aren't integral to truly achieve success, because I believe they are. But on the road we choose to walk we all have a choice to put our efforts into building a monument shaped after ourselves for our own glory or to build something bigger than ourselves. Something that outshines who we are because it's not about us. Rather, it's about building something for other people that continues working and succeeding even if we're not a part of it.

Story Behind The Name

Non profits provide some of the most meaningful, needed services for people who need a leg up. I'm fortunate to have been a part of some, like Purple Door, and witness others in action. Often they are very specialized in the populations they serve. While this specialization allows them to serve people in ways no other organizations can there can also be quite the adjustment for participants when they phase out or move on from the non profits services. I want to be clear that this is not criticism, it's simply reality. But this is where we want Bridge City to thrive. Our goal is to work alongside non profits, mainly who serve youth, to help young adults transition well into the real world, which is often cold, harsh and doesn't give a damn where or how you grew up. Our goal is to pick up where our partner organizations leave off and bridge the gap between non profit services and real world employment. We will also hire people who are not involved with our partners in any capacity, but hopefully that explanation communicates what we're trying to do.

Einstein

Back to my unhealthy obsession with greatness. In all honesty, I'm terrified to live a life of mediocrity that is forgotten the moment I'm put in the ground. I'm not writing this so any of you who know me send a text or email trying to convince me otherwise. In fact I would appreciate it if you didn't. The reason I'm including it here is because if Jon and I ever try to separate or elevate ourselves above what we are trying to accomplish or who we are trying to reach, we have failed. If all we try to do is be great, we never will be. I think Einstein said it best, "Try not to be a man of success, rather try to become a man of value." Which is similar to the drive behind our mission statement: Building hope and value through coffee. We want to inspire hope in our employees that life is worth living and can be so much more than just getting by.  And we want them to leave their time with us knowing how much each one of them matter - that they are of value.

April 20 - Roasted Coffee Sales, Raising Capital/Investment, Mobile Cart

Soft Launch of the Pop-Up Cart

Jon successfully ran our first pop-up cart in collaboration with Textile Hall. There was more excitement and buzz than we anticipated. He had great conversations about the business and employment model we're working to build as well as chatting about coffee in general. Multiple people commented that our model sounded similar to Purple Door, which was awesome! I'm working with Mark, Purple Door's executive director, to figure out how I can continue serving on the board after moving to Greenville as well as how PD and BC can partner together in the future. It was encouraging to Jon and me that people know about Purple Door across the country in Greenville in general, but that they also connected our model to it. All in all, our first event was a success.

Where We Are In Building Bridge City

As mentioned above, we had our soft launch for the coffee cart last week. In the immediate future we will be focusing on 3 things...

1. Wholesale and individual accounts for roasted coffee  Info for wholesale and any of our beans for individuals will be on the website soon. We are very excited and proud of the sourcing model we're building. Typically, in the coffee world, beans can pass through as many as 8 different parties before reaching your cup (farmer, co-op, washing/processing, exporter, importer, distributor, roaster, shop). While this is definitely necessary in a variety of contexts, it isn't always. We're in the process of finalizing some key relationships. However, by late 2017 all of the coffees, yes all, you will have the chance to experience through Bridge City will be sourced and handled in ways that we trust by people that we know, trust, and support. Our goal is to always provide full transparency with our coffees and our sourcing model is designed to minimize the number of hands that touch every bean we use. This will maximize the profit our farmers and their communities receive, allow us to maintain more direct and authentic relationships with them, and in the end create a better product with real community through it all. We'll talk more in depth about how we do this in future post. Or you can reach out and ask us for more details, we'd love to tell you about it!

2. Raising capital and exploring investment opportunities To get our physical shop location and the employment model up and running we need a substantial amount of capital, substantial to us anyway. The good thing is that as our wholesale and general accounts increase, the amount of investment we need decreases. While this is a positive thing we would rather have the shop up and running as soon as feasibly possible. Thankfully, we recently obtained our first investors! This was a big deal for us both tangibly and intrinsically that people believe enough in what we're doing to invest. Thank you, you know who you are! Having said that, we still have quite a bit to procure to get the shop up and running and this will be a focus for both Jon and me in the foreseeable future.

*Update We are currently talking with a huge potential client that would speed things up for purchasing a bigger roaster and warehouse space.

3. Continuing to utilize the mobile cart  We plan to continue this at different events throughout the Greenville and Anderson areas (Jon lives in Anderson). We'll post a schedule on the website as we solidify more events and you can also stay up to date via Instagram @bridgecitycoffee