University of Houston Small Business Development Center
Independence Coffee Company Wins Statewide Honor with the Support of Blinn SBDC
Owners Christi (right) and Ragan Bond (left).
Independence Coffee Company has won the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) award for the State of Texas following its nomination by the Blinn College District Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
Matthew Wehring, Director of the Blinn SBDC, nominated co-owner Christi Bond for the Small Business Person of the Year Award. The SBA annually presents one Small Business Person of the Year Award in each state based upon the business’s history; growth in employees, sales, and profits; response to adversity; and contributions to community projects.
“They refer to it as a Person of the Year Award but it truly recognizes company-wide excellence,” Wehring said. “Owners Christi and Ragan Bond have grown their business from a small coffee shop to a major regional coffee roaster selling both wholesale and retail. Independence Coffee’s commitment to excellence and history of giving back makes it the type of business all communities strive to have. Brenham is fortunate to have them.”
Founded in 2003, Independence Coffee Company now roasts more than 650,000 pounds of high-grown Arabica coffees for customers ranging from individual consumers to large grocery markets such as H.E.B. and Whole Foods Market. The company is Fair Trade certified by TransFair USA and Whole Trade Certified by Whole Foods Market. All of Independence Coffee’s Fair Trade coffees are grown organically.
Independence Coffee Company supports the community through a variety of endeavors, including the Baylor Park Project, which funds preservation and maintenance projects for the original home of Baylor University in Independence, and Gathering Grounds, which teaches high school students to manage a successful coffee cart program. The company also supports Adam’s Angels Ministry, a non-profit organization supporting families battling childhood cancer.
“The SBDC has been with them since day one,” Wehring said. “They came to us with an idea and we gave them a little direction and have helped them along the way.”
Early in the business’s history, Independence Coffee had an offer from a major packaging company to infuse cash into the business for partial ownership. Rather than deciding alone, the company turned to Blinn’s SBDC for advice. Ultimately, Independence Coffee chose not to partner up with the packaging company – a company-saving decision, as the packaging company later closed.
“I credit the SBDC for saving our company from making the wrong decision,” Ragan Bond said. “The SBDC’s input was crucial during this critical period in the Independence Coffee Company’s growth.”
Source: Blinn College
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