The Entrepreneur Fund assisted Duluth Coffee Company expand from an idea for a coffee business, to the business becoming the outstanding and thriving coffee shop and distributor that it is today. Entrepreneur Fund provided Duluth Coffee Company’s founder, Eric Faust him with multiple SBA Microloans for capital and consulting on Financial Management, Strategic Business Planning, and additional business expenses.
Out of that investment, Eric built a major wholesale brand in Minnesota and has gained statewide notoriety. He continues to grow his distribution, while maintaining a a strong value system, making it a priority to track where his coffee beans are sourced from and providing a purchasing model with financial assistance to the coffee farmers.
Eric first approached Entrepreneur Fund to get support to get his business off the ground. He accessed startup financing to purchase a 3-kilogram coffee roaster and began roasting coffee beans in his garage.
After some experimentation with the coffee roasting process, Eric began selling his freshly roasted beans at local farmers markets and restaurants from the bed of his ’91 Ford F-150. However, his truck-bed coffee was so successful that it became difficult to keep up with the demand from his customers. He wanted to expand his operation, but knew he would need help, both in terms of financing and on how to run a small business.
Entrepreneur Fund happily provided the technical assistance and support Eric would need to develop his skills and become a savvy entrepreneur. With assistance in business consulting, expansion financing and strategic business planning from the Entrepreneur Fund, Eric cultivated the company for growth and expansion.
“Mike Lattery, Director of Business Finance at the Entrepreneur Fund, took a huge risk on me seven years ago and has been my most trusted friend in the financial world,” Eric continued. “Duluth Coffee Company would not exist without the Entrepreneur Fund.”
He opened Duluth Coffee Company’s retail storefront in October 2012 in the heart of downtown Duluth, quickly becoming an essential part of many morning commutes. As demand and brand awareness steadily grew, Eric replaced the 3-kilogram roaster with a 12-kilogram model, and the Duluth Coffee Company’s popularity continued to trend upward. Since then, the coffee house has expanded to include a large-scale 70-kilogram roaster in the Roasteria, which also serves wine, beer and cocktails, just down the street.
As business has grown, Eric has made it Duluth Coffee Company’s mission to “roast and craft coffee with integrity and intentionality.” He takes great pride in the ongoing relationships he’s developed with worldwide coffee cooperatives and farmers who work hard every day to provide high-quality coffee beans. Eric and his head roaster often travel to source new coffee beans and enjoy meeting with community members along the way. Their appreciation, according to Eric, makes it all worth it. While the Duluth Coffee Company provides Duluth with fresh coffee, drinks and a place to hang out, it’s more than that; Duluth Coffee Company has changed lives across the globe.
“We purchase some of the finest coffees in the world and pay some of the best prices in the world,” Eric explained. “When people drink Duluth Coffee, they are truly helping improve economies in worlds away.”
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