Posts tagged farmers
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.

 

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