Posts tagged coffee shop
June 9 - Update on Selling Roasted Coffee, Raising Capital/Investment, Mobile Cart

Greenville Hasn't Stopped Impressing Me

My love for the city of Greenville has grown almost daily since I got here. Sure I typically go through 2 changes of clothes (none of which are Clemson related, pastel colored, short khaki shorts, or boat shoes) because it feels like a sauna most of the time here and I’m used to 15% humidity in Colorado. But it’s great to be writing this downtown sitting outside at one of those yellow tables in the atrium where Methodical Coffee and Mast General are. I also have a deep love for Belgian beer and food and went to the Trappe Door for the first time last week with Katie. It’s my favorite restaurant I’ve been to so far.

Where We Are In Building Bridge City

As I wrote a couple posts ago, our focus has been on starting wholesale and individual sales, continuing the momentum of the mobile cart, and obtaining investors/capital to open the storefront. Below are updates on each of those. We would love to connect with anyone reading this and are working on updating the usability of the blog. Until we do that, however, feel free to email me at greg@bridgecity.coffee

√  1. Launch Wholesale and Individual Accounts   We obtained our first sizeable wholesale account and are working on a couple others. Anyone who wants to buy beans for themselves can do so through the main site, or click here. We’re excited to have our first shipment of beans from Yepocapa Coffee and will be adding them to the website soon. Check out their site here to see how they operate. We’re pumped to be collaborating with them so we maintain consistency in our model literally from farm to cup – not just in the typical way that phrase is abused.  We’ll post more on that later.

☐  2. Raising Capital and Exploring Investment Opportunities We are in discussions with two new potential investors. One would help us with capital for acquiring roasting equipment and the other may bring enough to the table to open the storefront! It’s surreal to even write that! However, what we’re striving to do with this blog is write it in real time. So it’s not as though Jon and I know both investors will come through and are trying to build suspense by delaying communicating that. We truly have no clue if either will solidify. That’s why there is no check next to number 2 yet; it’s all about the check marks.

√  3. Continue to Utilize the Mobile Cart   Jon has done well with finding cool events to sell our coffee at. He has been on an anniversary trip with is wife but will have more info on the upcoming events when he gets back.  If you know of somewhere you think it would be great for our coffee to be sold, please let us know!

 

June 1 - Brief Update

Personal Update

Where to begin? I’ll start by explaining the gap in entries despite much happening with Bridge City. The past month has been insane. Not in a bad way, just in a completely chaotic and overwhelming way. I learned at an early age that though we can often blur the line between bad things that happen out of our control and generally difficult situations, there is a stark difference between the two. The past month has been comprised of much of the latter for me. That was mainly due to selling our Denver house, buying one in Greenville (with a lot of unnecessary uncertainty and difficulty), and moving our lives and family across the country.  Though stressful, all the effort and energy has been put into something positive and worthwhile and, thankfully, has yielded good results

Bridge City Update

Jon has been a champ with keeping our momentum going while I was consumed with wrapping up client engagements in Denver, packing, and moving.  We secured our first order of raw beans with Yepocapa Coffee, Jon and Kenzi launched our online sales, the groundwork was laid with a huge potential investor, we made good progress in finding a store front location, and also secured a larger temporary place to roast until we are able to find a permanent one. Kudos to Jon for handling much of that on his own!

I’ll be doing more detailed updates over the next couple weeks on where we are with Bridge City. But I wanted to at least get something posted to let everybody know we’re still around and moving forward!

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

What Is Bridge City Coffee?

Quick important detail on where we currently are while this is being written – It’s the beginning of April now and my wife and I plan to move from Denver, CO to Greenville, SC sometime around June. Jon is going to do our first pop-up cart at a First Friday event at Textile Hall this week. It's a good bit sooner than we anticipated to actually launch, but we're not complaining! Just have to get ready for it.

Some Background

I love good coffee.  I enjoy the way it tastes and how it wakes me up in the morning. I love how therapeutic it is to make. I love how it makes me think about things in a healthy big picture perspective with the journey each single coffee bean goes through to end up producing my morning fuel (more about this in an upcoming post). In addition to all that, I love the community, massive life or business decisions, and simple relaxation that all occur within the walls of coffee shops.

Through a quick Google search I found 50 independently owned coffee shops just around the downtown Denver area. That number doesn’t include any big chains like Starbucks and Dazbog or places like Dunkin Donuts that serve coffee drinks. So throw in the big chains and you’re easily close to 200 shops. That’s a saturated market to say the least. Out of all those shops there is one like Purple Door Coffee and simply put, Purple Door is one of the biggest reasons I want to create Bridge City Coffee.

I heard Mark, the executive director, speak at a 1 Million Cups meeting. I was fascinated by what they were doing and approached Mark following the meeting. After a lot of conversations and meetings with Mark I’ve been on the board of Purple Door for 6 months now. I still have a hard time not being overwhelmed when I go to the coffee shop or roaster and see the employees doing their jobs. There is a truth that hits me like a ton of bricks every time - I am witnessing each individual employee having their lives renewed while they are gaining applicable life skills and simultaneously learning about their worth and dignity as individuals. It’s not just a job, it’s the restoration of people’s lives. That’s why Jon and I want to build with Bridge City Coffee.

Mission and Structure of Bridge City Coffee

Two of the main differences between Purple Door and Bridge City will be the target demographic of employees and how the business will be structured. Purple Door was born out of Dry Bones, an NP that does amazing relief work for Denver’s homeless youth. They wanted something further down the scale from relief work more into rehabilitation and development, hence where Purple Door was conceived.  At Bridge City our goal is to catch people and equip them to succeed before they end up in need of serious relief or deep rehabilitation.

The way Bridge City will be structured is similar to a for-profit B-Corp (Benefit Corporation). We’re still working on honing in the exact percentages, but a percentage of our net profits will be reinvested back into the employee’s communities, some partner organizations, and the farming communities we source our beans from. We’ll call it the community fund. Of the community fund, Jon and I will work with the employees to help them reinvest 50% of the community fund directly back into the communities they are from. 35% will go towards partner organizations around the Greenville area, and 15% will go toward the farming coops and communities we work with.  One of the main drivers behind forming as a for-profit entity is to empower the employees with the knowledge that they are earning their own wages and keeping the business afloat through their hard work.

We'll write about the mission, goals, and unique factors of Bridge City in later posts. Part of the beauty of this blog (hopefully) is the dynamic nature of it all during the construction of the company. We may plan for one thing only to learn that it won't work and we have to pivot. Again, that's the terrifying and unique nature of writing something in the thick of it all. So keep following us, we'll make it worth it!