I grew up on a homestead in Vermont where we grew most of our own vegetables and raised chickens, pigs, and goats. I learned the value of hard work and the potential of what I could make with my own hands. Before I started this small farm based coffee business in early 2012, I spent 15 years at the helm of a homebrew supply business, Seven Bridges Cooperative, in Santa Cruz California. I was an original founding Member and served as the General Manager and Board President until I departed in 2011.
I also cut my teeth on coffee roasting at Seven Bridges. I set up and developed the home coffee roasting section of the business. The business is still thriving today.
I have applied this extensive business experience for the past 3 years to building our coffee business which now provides all of my income. By building the coffee bar and roastery, we’ll be able to grow the business enough to make it a true family business that can support both myself, my husband Patrick, and a small staff in the years to come.
At the beginning of 2012 I took a small inheritance and started a small farm in North Monterey County. Luckily I realized that farming would not be enough to financially support myself and so I invested in a 2 pound commercial coffee roaster. I also set up a small solar system to run the electrical part of the roaster so it runs on propane and solar power. This little roaster has helped me grow my coffee business to the point where I have truly supported myself and the little farm for the past year. But it is taking 80 hour weeks of roasting and vending at farmers markets to do it. I know that is not a pace I can keep up with! I have been working on plans to expand to a bigger roaster and to open a small cafe to generate revenue needed to keep a bigger roaster going. These plans are already in motion! I have located the space and signed a lease! With keys in hand I am facing the biggest challenge yet: building a cafe.
I am most proud of the fact that I have built this business from the ground up to support and celebrate the efforts of small scale farming. All our coffee purchases are made as conscientiously as possible: we only buy excellent coffees grown by small scale organic farmers. We want our coffee dollars to support family based, small scale ecologically conscious farming as much as possible. We plan to highlight this in our Watsonville coffee bar. We want to show our own farming community that we support small scale farming everywhere, and it is part of our mission to give back, however we can!
Our needs for this $5,000 are very straightforward. It will cost almost $2,000 to obtain the necessary permits to build a cafe at our new location. We will also need to have architectural plans drawn up to submit to the planning department, which will cost at least $2,000. While this planning stage is going on we will have some overhead and a few expenses. For instance utilities and locksmith charges to rekey the locks. While the planning stages are underway I will be working on a business plan to secure more financing to do the construction and cover rent while the cafe is being built. Once we are able to open the cafe, we will have new revenue to cover operating expenses and keep our business growing.