Lionheart Coffee Company
My name is Kaisa Butcher, and I’m one of the co-owners of Lionheart Coffee Company in Beaverton, OR.
Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” For most of my life, I dreamed of doing great things. Secretary of State, Supreme Court Justice, CEO of a large non-profit, famous actress…. my ambitions were limitless. In college, however, I realized that I was striving for success and fame, not long term fulfillment. I reevaluated my priorities and dreams and concluded that I was meant for a service-oriented career.
After college, I had the privilege of interning with a human rights organization in India. My Indian coworkers partnered with local law enforcement and social service agencies to help rescue and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking. I was inspired by their selfless dedication and undying commitment to seeking justice. Humbled, I returned to Oregon determined to emulate them.
Upon my return, I had an epiphany. What if I opened up a coffee shop with a cause? I had always loved coffee and the experiences that surrounded it. What if I opened a shop that would serve amazing coffee and help to empower the local community? What if I used the shop to raise awareness about different causes?
After spending time in both the coffee industries and small business management, I partnered with my friend and coworker Ben Reese to start Lionheart Coffee Company in Beaverton, OR. After nearly a year of preparation and fundraising, we opened up our doors in May 2015. It’s been an amazing experience, fostering community and sharing our love of coffee with our customers and friends.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Lionheart Coffee Company is a community-centered coffee shop located in Beaverton, OR, a suburb of Portland.
Portland is rapidly becoming a coffee mecca. Boasting a wealth of small batch coffee roasters and purveyors, it’s now known for having some of the best coffee in the United States and the world.
Despite all of the amazing coffee available in Portland proper, there are still a lot of big chain coffee shops in the suburbs. However, the demand for “good” coffee in the burbs is on the rise. Therefore, we decided to bring the good stuff out of Portland via a multi-roaster shop.
Having built relationships with some of the best coffee roasters in Oregon, we are able to offer our customers with a Portland-type experience in the burbs. We work with Sterling Coffee Roasters to have a staple coffee for our espresso-based beverages. However, we rotate in a different guest roaster for our manual coffee brewing bar. Customers who are interested in a pour over or a different manual brew, may choose a coffee from our featured roaster and then sit at our bar as we prepare it before them. Some of our guest roasters have included Water Ave Coffee, Coava Coffee, Upper Left Roasters, Ristretto Roasters and several more.
Our concept is very different from other locally owned shops or chains in the area. It has been fun to see how much our customers have embraced it and our offerings. In order to bridge a gap between chain coffee shops and our shop, we still offer flavored drinks and traditional drip coffee. However, we like to have other options, like pour overs and traditional macchiatos, for those who would like to kick up their coffee experience a notch. To us, there is no wrong way to drink coffee. Our desire is simply to provide the best product and experience possible to our customers.
Another huge facet of our business is our community ethos. We believe in fostering community through partnerships with organizations that are meeting basic needs in our area. Our partners include Oregon Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity Willamette West, Live Again, Mercy Corps, Central City Concern, Raphael House, and the local schools.
Each month, we coordinate and participate in a food bank shift and a Habitat build. Our customers have jumped at the opportunity to join us and give back to these awesome organizations. We’ve also coordinated several needs drives through which our customers have generously donated school supplies, dental products, and Christmas gifts for children and families in our area.
Over the next year, we would love to expand our reach in the Westside suburbs and continue to grow our regular customer base. We want to be known as the place to go for an awesome Portland experience that’s fun and approachable. We would also love to expand our community initiatives so that we can continue to work with our customers to build a strong, thriving community.
What is the purpose of this loan?
This loan will help us more quickly pay down some of our higher interest loans that we incurred during our first year of business. As a first time business owner, it’s extremely difficult to get any business loans at all, let alone low interest loans. Therefore, we would like to pay down our higher interest loans as quickly as possible so that we can reinvest the money we would be paying in interest back into the business. This will help to insure our longevity and our ability to offer more awesome and unique experiences to our customers.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years