Direct Trade Coffee Club

Direct Trade Coffee Club Logo

This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with the owners of Direct Trade Coffee Club and checking out their roastery's new location here in Grand Rapids. 

Direct Trade Coffee Club started in 2009.  Kirby, one of the owners, moved to Grand Rapids from Seattle about 6 years ago.  He had previous experience working with online marketing and was trying to figure out what exactly he was going to do in GR, but more importantly - he wanted to know where he could find a really good cup of coffee.  A couple months later MadCap Coffee opened downtown and on his first visit there he met Chad.  They started talking about their passion for coffee and eventually worked together to form an online coffee club using the direct trade business model.  Kirby and Chad felt they could increase the quality of coffee and customer experience best by using direct trade. 

Direct Trade Coffee Club is the only company of it's kind to source their coffee 100% through direct trade.  The DTCC guys are extremely passionate about coffee and feel freshness is of the utmost importance.  They never have coffee sitting around waiting to ship out - they roast and package as needed to fulfill each order.  Quite often it is roasted and shipped the same day! 

The DTCC Coffee Roaster

The DTCC Coffee Roaster

While Direct Trade Coffee Club doesn't have a storefront where people can walk in to purchase coffee, they are really big on education and often invite their customers to stop by to learn various methods of grinding and brewing coffee. 

The DTCC coffee grind and brew station

The DTCC coffee grind and brew station

Direct Trade Coffee Club invites you to try their high quality, extremely fresh coffee.  Visit them online here and use promo code DTCC10 to receive $10 off your first order!

Mari J Meyer Pancreatic Cancer Trail Run for Hope

One of my childhood friends Susan lost her mother to pancreatic cancer a few years ago.  Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and hard to treat forms of cancer.  Since the loss of her mother, Susan has worked extremely hard to organize fundraising events to raise awareness as well as funds to support pancreatic cancer research. 

An annual event in memory of her mom, the Mari J Meyer Pancreatic Cancer Trail Run for Hope takes place Saturday, September 13th.  This 5k untimed trail run and walk starts at 9am and is on the East Kentwood High School cross country course. 

I'm happy Boxed GR will be helping to sponsor this year's event and I hope you all will consider signing up for a fun event that supports very important cancer research. 

The event page and sign up can be found here and the event's Facebook page is here.


Marketing and Subscription Boxes

Every day we are inundated with marketing messages.   I read somewhere once that the average person may see up to 5000 advertisements each day.  From commercials to internet ads to grocery store displays - they are everywhere!  It's tough to figure out what gets through to potential customers and how to spend marketing dollars wisely.  For small businesses who don't have a big budget it is even more difficult! 

So how does the subscription box model fit into that?  Subscription boxes are a unique way to reach people in a direct manner.  Potential customers can sample products and get more information about different businesses and their offerings.  Subscribers pay for and enjoy getting a box filled with surprise products, samples, and gift cards each month.  Many people describe excitement waiting for their box to arrive each month. They open it and spend time looking at and trying each item inside.  Subscription boxes are fun! 

At Boxed GR, we aim to put together an awesome box each month filled with new products, samples, and gift cards that our subscribers really enjoy.  We also are proud to provide a unique and low cost way for businesses in Grand Rapids to promote themselves. 

Knowledge Sharing

One of the best parts about meeting with other local business owners is once in a while they give me advice, share tidbits of helpful information, or just happen to mention something I didn't think about before.  I'm all wrapped up in my own business and emotionally and financially invested in it, so sometimes it's hard to see things as an outsider would.  Other business owners have their share of trial and error, lessons learned, connections they've made, and a whole lot of valuable experience.  I always try to listen with an open mind because I can learn a lot from others. 

Recently Adam from Bros. Leather Co. and I were talking on the phone about promoting his business in the Boxed GR boxes and we started talking about websites.  I mentioned wanting to redo the Boxed GR website and he suggested I check out Squarespace. 

I took his advice and I am so glad I did.  After weeks of reading tutorials on WordPress and still feeling confused, I was ready to give up and I started looking into hiring someone else to design the new website.  Once I read up on Squarespace a little bit and did a free 14 day trial, I realized that Adam was right.  With next to no knowledge about how to design a website and integrate the payment system, I was able to do everything myself!  Squarespace is awesome.  Their tutorials are easy to follow, cover just about any question I had, and when I did have questions - their customer service was absolutely stellar.  I highly recommend Squarespace to anyone looking to create a new website. 

GR Dreamin'

Entrepreneurship was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.  I look up to the folks who are innovative, brave enough to take the financial and personal risk involved with starting a business, and who work hard to see their dreams come true.  It may sound a bit cheesy, but I always knew that whatever business I ended up starting, I wanted it to somehow help other small businesses too. 

I think it is important to support businesses in our community by shopping and eating locally whenever possible.  According to the Local First website, when we spend $100 at a locally owned business, $68 of it stays in our community, as compared to just $43 when shopping at a non-locally owned business.  If everyone made a conscious effort to choose local over chain regularly, it would make a huge impact on the economy here in West Michigan!  Another great reason to support local businesses is the wide range of unique and interesting shopping, eating, and service options that are available.  These one-of-a-kind businesses define our city and make it extra special.  I am so proud and excited to have fulfilled my dream of business ownership and to be able to promote and support local businesses with Boxed GR! 

With that passion for supporting local comes a desire to help others in their quest for entrepreneurship.  Some day I would like to teach small business management.  For now, I plan to blog about the things I've learned, the mistakes I've made, and the steps I've taken while chasing my own dreams of business ownership.  Perhaps I can help someone along the way.