Like I was saying last week, I was about to learn a whole lot about things I never thought I’d care to learn about.
My background, you see, is in medicine so I was totally out of my wheelhouse here.
My questioning of Brad and his plans began with the obvious – why coffee?
The answer, once given, also seemed quite obvious.
First off, it’s delicious and because it’s so delicious, nearly every person, in every culture, in every country throughout the entire world consumes coffee. Coffee can be a starting point for conversation with just about anyone – it could be a real culture changer.
Most importantly, though, coffee is an abundant natural resource throughout the bean belt, which includes many of the poorest countries in the world. In fact, coffee happens to be the second most valuable commodity exported by developing countries.
If we can help teach sustainable ways of coffee farming and help increase the quality of the coffee beans produced, we can certainly help coffee farmers and their hired workers make a better living.
I was starting to understand it bit by bit and now I wanted to do whatever I could to help.
We got down to logistics.
I created our first website. Brad would’ve gladly hired someone to do it, but I couldn’t stomach the cost without attempting it myself first.
We took to social media and email blasts.
Brad’s super talented sister, Kelli, drew our logo for us.
My wonderful friend, Bethany McCullough, designed our coffee bags.
We published, designed, printed, and mailed out a community magazine to every home in Ave Maria EVERY month. It featured a family from the community and had advertisements from local businesses, including our own.
Brad also took on publishing a similar magazine in Naples, FL in order to advertise. All this, while still working his full-time medical sales job.
We waited for the sales to pour in.
Word was getting out, but sales were a painfully slow trickle.
We were overworked to say the least and we didn’t seem to be making much headway.
Then we hired Andrew.
Andrew is a family friend, also from Wisconsin, whom we’ve known for years. He was attending Ave Maria University for his Masters in Theology. He came to a coffee tasting we were hosting and Brad asked him if he would like to help out with roasting and such. Andrew was more than willing – so we hired him. He began working here and there when his schedule allowed, but Brad and I both knew right away that Andrew brought great value to our business. He was young and on fire. He had a missionary heart and some really great ideas to help us grow.
We starting talking about hiring Andrew full-time once he graduated. It was kind of a no-brainer for us.
Brad also wanted to buy a bigger roaster and rent some commercial space.
At this point, I started to have my doubts. I was pregnant with baby #3 and Brad and I were sitting on the living room floor one night after putting our kids to bed. We were bundling thousands of magazines into stacks of 50 and labeling cover sheets to be taken to the post office the next day.
I was beat and overwhelmed. Our work seemed to be mostly in vain and yet we were considering purchasing a new roaster, hiring a full-time employee, and renting commercial space.
Were we out of our minds?
~ Find the end of the story next week in Part 3 ~