June 27, 2018
Small Business Stories: Café Campesino Roasters
In our “Small Business Stories” series, we hit the road to interview small business owners about their unique journeys. Each story provides inspiration and insights while shining a spotlight on the passionate small business owners who are so critical to our economies and our communities.
Coming up on its 20th anniversary, Café Campesino Roasters is Georgia’s first fair trade organic coffee company. The journey began as a unique business model to work with other like-minded roasters, to buy coffee directly from farmers around the world. They also acted as a co-op that they founded with other roasters to bring everyone together.
In March of 1998, they brought in 40,000 pounds of coffee, but quickly realized they needed to do something more if they wanted to make money. Lee Harris, the current General Manager at Café Campesino, owned a restaurant at the time and wanted his brother, Bill Harris, the CFO at Café Campesino, to start roasting the coffee for him to sell it in his restaurant. At that point, both Bill and his CEO Tripp Pomeroy decided to start roasting the coffee. Lee later became the roast master for Café Campesino and uses a different roasting style with sugars that give the coffee a unique and very palatable flavoring.
The team at Café Campesino recognizes that each small business, especially today, is differentiated by the community where it is based. And they are continuing to connect with their community which has given them a lot of opportunities to move their business forward.