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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. This is small picture big results stuff, that by the way, happens everyday in small businesses across this great country. Just a side note, I have seen a lot of small businesses fail to get to another level, because of lack of taking the shot, procrastination or the attitude, hey we just aren't set up for that. Well I have news for you! Get set up for that, take the chance, and figure it out, because if you are not moving forward you are moving in the wrong direction, period. There is NO argument for this in business. If you try to move forward and fail,you will learn something from it, if you are a true entrepreneur. If not you were some second or third generation grunt, who probably shouldn't be there anyway.

so now things are going smoothly, it is 1995 and we get a call that we are invited to a golf tournament and dedication afterwards, that this company has finally opened up their 1,000th store. Quite an accomplishment in retail, and especially in Canada. Now, I can't golf a lick because, even though I was a caddy for 3 years when I was younger, I never golfed on free caddy day. Hell, that was for the doctor's and rich people. Well the one thing the owner's brother does was golf! You know why? Because that is all he did! I was doing his job plus my own job and shutting my mouth. You know why, because the knowledge I was getting was better than any Harvard MBA course I could spend my money on, and I was becoming more and more essential to the operation.

Here's the thing. My owner doesn't want to just send up his brother, so he tells me in confidence, just go up there and look after things. What? You know and I know, blood is thicker than water, I am in a panic, but what are my choices, so I agree. And what happens next is something I will never in my career forget............ but that's for tomorrow.
Hey I am back and I am bad! Please leave your input and comments, this story is an autobiographical piece, that is going to quickly become the most riveting story, or one of the most, you have ever heard! Tell your friends, spread it around. I need some input. Peace everyone, and all the happiness you can find, because it just doesn't appear on your doorstep, trust me. Joe

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