A Thank You Letter
When I first started down this path of selling coffee, one of the first things I did was go to the Small Business Centre in Ingersoll and ask them, plain and simple, “what the hell am I doing?”
I was in desperate need of guidance and luckily, I had found the right place. They welcomed me with open arms and set my course for a clearer path than the muddy one I was on. They offered advice, gave helpful tips and mentorship, and after a few months of learning, I started to see growth with the business and it began to feel more real. We were starting to see that Kintore Coffee Co. might actually have some potential.
As the business grew, I searched for even more advice. In my searches I found out about the Small Business Centre in Woodstock. I set up an appointment to talk to someone at the SBC, and they offered me a seat in a 10 week long workshop, totally free of charge. I thought, sure, I have nothing to lose. I proceeded with these free classes, and I learned a lot, as well as met a bunch of other local entrepreneurs, which was a bonus. After these classes I had some great connections and some key knowledge to further grow my business.
From there I kept going, store after store, phone call after phone call, trying to get my coffee on the shelves. Once I got into a couple dozen stores in the area, the name started to be more recognized, which helped in getting into even more stores.
Meanwhile I was receiving emails regularly from the SBC Woodstock, as well as the Oxford Tourism Team, and even sometimes from our Zorra Township mayor himself. They would ask how things were going and if there was anything they could do, or invite me to meetings about how to grow business in the county or hear speakers talk about how they grew their business. The support was beyond encouraging.
When I decided to take my business a step further and rent a building, I thought long and hard about where I should be looking. And when it came down to it, I realized I had to set up shop in Oxford County– the county I was raised in, and the place that had been so supportive since the beginning. The people here have been nothing short of incredible, from all the help at the SBC, to all of the branches of Oxford Tourism, and all the friendly local customers that I’ve met along the way.
I couldn’t be happier with the location we ended up with in Embro. A small town that I knew well, that I had once even lived in, Embro is a cozy, friendly town that is also central to many other incredible local businesses.
Now to be honest, I had no plans to start a cafe when we took over that building. Originally it was just a place we could bag and tag coffee. But after weeks of people coming in and inquiring if that’s what we were going to do, that Embro needed a cafe and how great that would be, we decided to give it a shot.
With the cafe came even more support from the Embro community, and surrounding communities as well. From newspapers reaching out to do interviews, to radio stations asking to do free promotions we couldn’t have asked for more support. It was absolutely awesome. Things were going well.
Very shortly after we opened our doors, we were hit with a terrible, unexpected and unprecedented situation. A situation that all businesses got hit with – invasive killer flamingos.
Just kidding, it was Covid-19. Killer flamingos would have been way more manageable I think.
Needless to say, we were pretty upset. 2 months in, and we were just starting to get the hang of it all. I was getting to know my customers much better and was building some great relationships. Our local vendors were starting to sell more off the shelves and people were getting comfortable with it being their local hangout spot. Then bam! Sucker punch to the gut.
With the doors closed and no cafe, it was back to Plan A: hitting the pavement selling delicious coffee beans. This time with a bit of a twist… I thought I would see how offering house deliveries would go over.
The response was almost overwhelming. With a few posts on the socials and some help from my wonderful wife we were off to the races. Orders started coming in on Facebook, Instagram, and here on our website. The first week of offering home deliveries was incredibly busy. Over 100 lbs went out the door to friends, family and local supporters. Week 2 came, and by that Wednesday we were back over 100 again! I could not believe the support.
Now here we are over a month into these crazy new times, and it seems like there is no slowing down. Orders come in everyday, through all the different mediums and I am so thankful. When all of this craziness happened I thought for sure we would be done, but as always, the help and support of the incredible communities around me have stepped up once again.
If you know me then you know I tell a long story and so I swear I’m about to wrap it up. All of this is to say, from the bottom of my little red heart, THANK YOU.
- Thank you to the small business centres that helped me in the beginning so I could get where I am today.
- Thank you to to the support centres both locally and federally who are committed to keeping small businesses afloat during these times.
- Thank you to my fellow local small businesses that have been raising each other up, working together by cross promoting, referring, sharing and tagging.
And most of all THANK YOU to all of the people who are actively supporting small businesses around you. From a bag of locally roasted coffee to a slice of pizza or an artisan donut, every order helps. We couldn’t get through this without you.
Be safe, wash your hands and keep supporting local business.
-Todd Pearson, Kintore Coffee Co.