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Showing posts from May, 2013

1 Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

You all know by now, what I am writing about is my experience from a little kid, who knew nothing, to an adult, who fell into the perfect situation, realized I could capitalize on it and try to make a better life for my family. What I mean by my family is my wife and children, and to a small extent my parents.  Why I don't really know because it wasn't an easy, carefree life even in the best of times. But so hey, no one has it down perfect right? If you do let me know, I certainly don't know anyone who has.  So now there will be a picture, without a clear outcome. There will be holes that can't be filled, and that is ok, but it will always be the truth. You can count on that. So I came from a project, was sent down to Virginia, thank god, to finally realize there is another way of living. It gave me insight, it gave me an education to how, the other half lives, it gave me hope.
So here I am in 1994 battling with family demons I thought only existed when people were str…

One Man's Life journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

So 2 guys walk into a bar at closing on a very busy saturday night. They get to the bar at the very same time and try to order a pint of beer at the very same time, from the same bartender. So the bartender informs them that his taps are almost empty, but he thinks he can get one more good pint off the final tap that is working. The two men look at each other and start to reason with each other and to the bartender why they are worthy of that last pint. The tall man says, hey you know, I have nothing but I have been working all week and saving up to afford this one pint of beer. I have been looking forward to it for a whole week, and the smaller man says, Oh, I hear you, but I have 3 little kids at home and I finally got out of the house, and I just want to enjoy this one pint of ice cold beer, and to enjoy my silence and solitude. Well the tall man with all his compassion says to the smaller man, hey then, let me buy you the beer with my money and we will share it.  Well by now with …

One Man's Journey............................

You know I just don't get it. Everyone is be careful, be this ,be that. For WHAT? I am writing truthful content and I don't care if someone gets their nose broken!! I really don't. You know there is an old Buddhist story that simply says, if you buy you're favorite thing in the whole wide world, whether it is a plate, a coffee cup, a wine glass, whatever it is. Keep it in your favor forever, and buy it like it is already broken! Let's face it, nothing lasts forever, our houses will be dust in 300 years, the trees in your backyard, will die and return to where they came from. We all live our lives and then we turn to dust! Right? Am I right? Everything in this living world has a birth and an ending. But when you buy into anything, you should think about its life expectancy. What is now may not be tomorrow, but how will you deal with that? But when you have something that you really love, and you gain control of this item, whether it is a life, a glass, a plate or a …

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

So after 2 months of difficult negotiations, we finally came to an agreement. It was difficult but educating. I understood, he was keeping the company's best interest to heart, and I got a few minor concessions in return. All in all, a pretty good business deal I thought.
then the bomb hit! Our largest customer was Tim Horton's of Canada, who was doing about 2.5 million lbs with us, and they wanted to purchase us! So, my job was to provide all the information the company needed to get a real selling price for the business. The deal was supposed to be all cash which would have been great for my owner. The whole kit and kaboodle, the business, the building, everything! there was only one question I had, would I have a job after it was all said and done! I was assured that I would run the business daily under the supervision of one of the Tim horton executive's, who would be overseeing the operations, but it was mine to run. I would be given a NEW contract of employment and e…
Be careful what wish for, because it might come true. Then what do you do, let it ride or start being introspective, or take the money and run? If you really wish for something, it really should be what you want don't you think? If you are searching and don't know what you really want, and then it comes true , is it the genie in the bottle, where you get 2 more, or is that it? Hmmm.
I think it might be like all things, somewhere in between, but for someone like me, I hate in-betweens.
Anyway, I have done what I should have done and more, as far as the company goes. you see I never ever really asked for anything in return. I felt it was my job to do the best I could, and I really still didn't have an agenda. I was kind of working for my father or my uncle. That is the way I felt, and my owner made me feel the same way. It was a very mutual relationship, because I could live with the dysfunction, because that's where I came from. When on a Monday, he'd be in a bad mo…

One Man's Journey Period.

So, why take a chance? Because I had too. To prove we could do it. Well the first thing was selling my owner on investing in something, he could care less about really. It could be to this day my second best sales pitch I ever pulled off. I had the thing down to the nuts and bolts. It was going to cost us, $135,000 but it would pull in $850,000 the first year at 62% gross margin, do the math. No brainer right? If you do the math it would pull in $323,000 gross margin the first year! Most businesses want a ROI, (return on investment), in 18 to 24 months, what I was proposing was a slam dunk, if we could execute! all production and manufacturing is, is executing in the most efficient way possible. We had a third floor that wasn't even being utilized, well maybe 20% utilized, so what I was proposing was maximize the dead space, which means we weren't earning a dime for this space and because of the investment we would capture every penny spent in 4 months, and not have to add a s…

One Man's Journey in the coffee Industry and Life

So there I am, at the crossroads of my career, it was the biggest most aggressive and costly project, I have ever recommended! I didn't care because I just knew I could make this work and show that by doing this we will not only capture the savings of not outsourcing, we would have control and flexibility! Plus we had the opportunity to guarantee quality control and package design! There was just one little problem or actually a few. Number one, convince my boss who is making a boatload of money in his early sixties to commit the capital outlay it would take to do this efficiently and successfully, and we needed it to be completely isolated and separate from our main production floor, because the issues of contamination were very real and potentially catastrophic! The other thing was, I wanted to upgrade the packaging, I didn't want it to look like a "foodservice" product I wanted it to more resemble a CPG, or a retail pack. I figured this would do 2 things, Our cust…

Coffee Facts 101, WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COFFEE

Hello,
I think I have sort of figured out how to make this a much more user friendly blog, than before! I have added a google + widget where you can click on to follow me. I have also added a follow me by email thingy on the top right side of the screen. I have also tried to delete those double postings, and I think I got so aggressive, I deleted a few posts that are essential to the project. So forgive me if you have read this one but this looks like one I deleted, and you should know.
This is a closer look of coffee facts, that a lot of people either don't know or there are misconceptions about. So here goes,
Coffee is only able to be grown within a 1,000 miles of the equator. This means all of the world's coffee is grown between the Tropic of Cancer, and the Tropic of Capricorn. That's it which means climate is essential in growing trees that ultimately produce this legal drug! I always told people, I am selling the only legal addictive drug in America, and nobody cares…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

Ok, hold on a minute be patient, please! It was just pointed out by a good friend, Loraine, that my blog is causing her fits! There are posts that are empty and you click on the subscribe with atom icon at the bottom of the page, doesn't work! Thank you so much Loraine for making me aware of this, and you are so right that people will say, oh forget about this it is too much work. I agree.
So I am not going to blog again, until I can completely straighten this thing out. Like I told everyone when I started, I was a newbie, but actually it is turning out I am even below that call me a nobie, I guess and yes I realize I am now making up words that don't belong in the English language. Sorry.
Anyway, that is all I have to say tonight, other than, I spent some really special time with people I should have been spending really special time a long long time ago. I will eventually, get to the details, but people should think more about their actions, and should follow their feelings …
So sitting on that plane, summarizing a plan to convince my boss and owner that we should probably invest in a flavored coffee line, than leave it up to one uptight, God knows what brother, and his seriously Doc Holliday sidekick, over the top alcoholic brother. I' m thinking I have a decent shot, even with a tightwad like my boss. I mean how could I lose the discussion? What could possibly be the answer? I though about this for quite some time, and I realized I was either very different than anyone I know, or I am a certifiable lunatic! I mean think about it, by doing this, I am taking on the responsibility, I am complicating my life, because really it is not, not working at this very moment and if I screw it up I am probably fired or at least tortured and reminded of it, for God knows how long. Well that's not true, it would probably come up annually, when I'd ask for a raise and then THAT subject would come up about how I wasted XXX dollars and we are still trying to re…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

Hello Friends! I just want to let you know, I am making progress with this blogging thing. After you read this, there should be a sign up box at the bottom right of the page! Please sign up so you can regularly subscribe to this blog, because I have so much to tell it could be years! Well maybe I won't torture you that long, but I'm going to keep going, please come along! And sign up!
So we get to the plant in Norfolk and the plant has to be 250 years old! We enter the front door and introduce ourselves to a receptionist, a very nice older lady, with that great southern accent. Now it is June and anyone that has ever been down in that part of the country, it is Africa hot and so humid that you feel like you are in a steam room, literally. The receptionist explains that the air conditioning isn't working too well today, but I had already kind of figured that out. It was around 11 am and it was already 94 degrees, yuck.
The company was owned by two brother's, a third gen…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and life

This is a rant, and one  that has be said!! Kids generally suck, I mean kids that have a gifted life and basically don't have to worry about anything. You see you think you are giving them everything, but you are not giving them anything! My daughter is 27, she lost a baby to SIDS, which I started a foundation for, it is the Brady William Leary SIDS Foundation, a legitimate 501C3 non profit organization. My son who 6 months after losing his sister's little baby, 7 weeks old, lost his best friend. We had so much shit going on it was out of control. Yeah I was making great money, but there is a disconnect that happens when PTSD strikes you in 6 months time.

Really, is this evolution. I think not, but there are some things you should know about me before I start blogging in earnest again! Things you need to understand;

I fought, I mean punched and hit someone everyday of my life until I was 15. Yeah I fought my way out, if you didn't you were going to get punched and hit. I l…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry in Life

So we have to move on, but it is hard. When everything you worked for is gone, well that's a hard thing. My daughter was deeply effected by this tragedy. We knew it, but really no one has ever been through that, at least that we knew. So we keep on pushing, doing what we do, going to work, spending way too much time there and probably not realizing what a little girl just went through. Of course I was like, well we get an inventory together and we get everything replaced, and then it will be all better. Well that's not what happened. my daughter was becoming increasingly agitated and guess why? You got it she was having terrible nightmares about people breaking in and taking everything including mom and dad. So we found a child psychologist by now, and all she did was twist the psych doctor around and manipulate her. Now, this isn't uncommon for kids but this particular therapist was a joke! We ended up having to answer some absolutely bizarre questions and off we went. Kn…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

So we headed for the Cape, decompress, swim, relax, enjoy our friends. Wrong. The minute we got there it was already a complete nightmare. It started with the grocery list. No my kids drink Tropicana with pulp, no our kids drink this, no we eat this, no we don't let our children eat that. Well our kids have to be in bed by xxxx, OH MY GOD. We are in hell, isn't this vacation, isn't this the time you get drunk and let the kids run around until midnight and build a bonfire on the beach? I guess not. It was the worst week of our lives. Our daughter gets an ear infection and we were both thanking god we had to spend 8 hours away from these controlling, crazy people, we thought were our friends. Well they were our friends but times had changed and this wasn't what we looking for in a week off.
So we survived the drama, there were a few fireworks, but nothing that couldn't be forgotten, I guess. It was just an eye opener. We just didn't live our lives that way, and t…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

Hey Everyone,
I have to say that I am sooooooo frustrated trying to get traffic to this site!! I have been trying to connect with Technocrati but I can't get a feed correctly over to them that works. Supposedly google + blogger is fired up by Atom but do you think I can attach my blog to them? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I am so sick and tired of this technical bullshit. why can't we actually have a free working web that can be so easy to use a 5 year old can do it? You know why Money!!!!!!! It's like the song says, THAT's WHAT I WANT!!! Complete crap by the way. Hey let me throw something out to you, I know it may be mind blowing but it still rings true. Do you know that J Paul Getty, oh you probably don't even know who that is but look him up, said,  I would rather have the benefit of 1% of 100 people than 100% of 1 person. That kind of sums up the internet right now but hey, what does a guy know in 1887? I mean we are in the age of all this crap! But you know what, if you …

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life.

I guess back to the drama! I hope you learned something about coffee in my last blog. I don't have any feedback but I was being toungue (guess I don't have spell check) n cheek about he had NO problem with the building! The building was our biggest challenge. I don't care if you are from Disney entertainment, that building was just not set up for an efficient manufacturing plant! Come on, the product, raw materials goes in a shipping door on another street address and gets sent up 4 floors to a production floor, where it is broken down blended roasted and maybe ground. Then packaged, put on palletts and sent down four floors in an elevator from 1945 with one rope! If someone told you that's what you had to live with and you were in manufacturing at the time, NO ONE would be ok with this! It is clearly called a BOTTLENECK! That's the exact thing you want to avoid manufacturing anything! I don't care whether it is computer boards, sweaters for the Gap or coffee. …

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

Hello Everyone,

This is actually getting a little harder than I thought, but that's the the way life is, at least sometimes.
I often wondered as I sat in my office, how the hell did I get here and someone else got there? It is over time that maybe true wisdom comes, but I am not so sure about that. I always had a pretty big chip on my shoulder, so let's just say the universe works in mysterious ways.
I was working my rear end off, doing everything necessary in a growing business that nobody else really seemed to really care about. You know I was the first one there and the last one out. It was a big deal when I got a key and a security code for locking up this 104,000 square ft building with probably $3-4 million dollars sitting right underneath my office in inventory, equipment and everything else that goes into a manufacturing operation. I can honestly say to this day, I never even thought about taking a napkin, never mind a case of coffee or something bigger. It kind of fel…

I Wish I Could Change My Whole Blog Title TO! One Man's Journey In The Coffee Industry and Life

So sometimes even though I have run a multi million dollar manufacturing operation, I have a lot to learn! Anyway, I will stick with the title and as Joe Namath said, "Just run a, you know what, post"! I thought that was pretty good being off the cuff and all. Never claimed to be a comedian anyway. So.....

I think I have to back up a little. Tell you about where I came from and where I kind of went. My Dad worked for 42 years for a corporation that's life line wAs government contracts, mostly military. He never made more than $45,000 in ac year, ever! My Mom grew up in Charlestown, a pretty rough part of the City of Boston on any day. Her dad was a Beat cop in the North End. Imagine having a irish surname and walking around policing 52,000 Italians? That must've been interesting. Anyway, I was born in 1960, and for the first 16 months of my life, Mom,Dad and I lived with his parent's in the middle of Dorchester, a placed called Codman Square. So, Dad and Mom fina…

One Man's Journey in the Coffee Industry and Life

So sorry it has taken me so long to get to this. So here we are in 1994. The only thing good that Butch did for us, was to make contact with a major foodservice supplier in Canada. Come to find out, they didn't even like the guy, he was hooked up with a purchasing agent, that used to work for him.

So the relationship got turned over to me. I had no idea about money exchange rates, shipping across the border, documents etc... well I learned in one big hurry. I know I could buy the coffee and execute the production, I had no idea about the moving parts of the deal. So, I dove in and wasn't going to fail. So I set up a system to buy the raw materials, fix the price and deliver the coffee. We were doing about 500,000 to 650,000 lbs of ground coffee a year with them. The margins were tight, but if I managed the buy signal, squeezed a few cents out of that , improved our shrink, because for every 100 lbs of coffee you put in a roaster you get 85 lbs out or so, we worked on that. Thi…