As promised, I will tell the beginning of the story of Guadalupe Roastery in this blog post, but first let me introduce myself and my husband, Brad.
Brad and I are both from relatively small towns in the great state of Wisconsin. We now live in Ave Maria, FL and the roastery is headquartered in the nearby town of Immokalee, FL.
Brad has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a heart for the poor. The idea behind Guadalupe Roastery was developed in his mind long before he and I ever met. In fact, he went to Honduras in 2008 with the plan to begin a coffee cooperative. Thanks to a rainy day, a cow in the road, a totaled rental car, and a lack of savings to fall back on, he ended up working on a coffee farm for $5 a day and eventually had to come back to the states to look for employment.
He got a job in medical sales and began advancing quickly. A better opportunity presented itself near his hometown, and he took it. All the while, he lived as simply as possible and saved. He never forgot the idea. He was saving for a second go at it, and this time he would be more prepared.
Then he met me.
We hit it off right away. There was so much we had in common (I happen to be a bit of a dreamer too). We talked and talked about the future and what it might hold for us. He explained his idea for a coffee cooperative. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the big picture, but I thought it was a noble idea nonetheless.
Prior to our engagement, he took me up to Door County, Wisconsin to see an old cafe/ice cream parlor that had gone up for sale. It was on a beautiful piece of lakefront property, but was in serious disrepair. Brad wanted to buy it and turn it into a coffeehouse with a roaster inside. There was a teeny tiny apartment in the upstairs and I could read his thoughts before he even spoke them. Two birds, one stone, a place of business AND a place to live.
As you can imagine, I was less than thrilled with the idea. I said nothing. Instead, I prayed for him to change his mind.
He did just that. It was too risky. He hadn’t saved enough to take such a risk, especially when he had rings and wedding bells on his mind.
Next thing you know, we were married.
Then a baby came.
Life began to take hold and it was comfortable, but Brad became restless. He felt that nagging sense of urgency to get to work – there was so much to be done.
Another big opportunity in his career presented itself in Florida. Both he and I had this odd sense of peace with the idea of picking up and moving to Florida. I had never considered Florida as a place to settle down. Call me crazy, but the alligator infested waters and venomous snake population weren’t exactly beckoning. However, upon investigating the small town of Ave Maria a bit, I was sold.
We moved in January of 2015.
Another baby came.
Now Brad wanted to buy a coffee roaster, a small one, and learn to roast coffee.
I agreed. We had saved plenty at this point and I more or less thought of it as an expensive hobby.
He took a coffee roasting class, got the roaster, and began roasting coffee on our back lanai.
Since I still hadn’t wrapped my mind around this idea of his and because it was becoming obvious that this was so much more than the small fundraising hobby I had pictured, I began to pepper Brad with questions – to which he had answers.
Now, when it comes to book smarts I’m no dummy, but I have to admit my ignorance when it comes to the ways of the world.
I was about to learn… a lot.
~To be continued next week.~