Grant Trahant - Founder of @Causeartist
City Centre Coffee exists to help people worldwide through sales of quality coffee and tea at competitive prices. All profits generated are contributed to help the world’s neediest people. City Centre Coffee endeavors to deliver a delicious coffee and tea experience in collaboration with the international farming communities who produce the products they sell. City Centre Coffee is committed to connecting customers with high quality coffee, educating customers on the coffee journey from farm to cup, and support charities that help those on the fringes on society.
Below is a quick Q&A with Robert Leggett, Founder of City Centre Coffee.
How does your organization sustain itself with 100% of profits being donated to charities around the world?
Good question. We definitely have overhead costs which are ongoing as well as capital expenses that come with developing and connecting directly with specialty farms in Asia and Africa. I don’t take a salary, but rather redirect those resources back to the business and the charities we support. I have other businesses that support me and my family.
Once our bills have been paid, then any profit or margin earned in excess of our bills is voluntarily donated to help rebuild people’s lives around the world in various ways. We publish stories on our website of the people we are helping. So far, I have been investing my own resources to launch this business for others. But we are excited about the growing interest in our business model and believe the day will come soon when it is much more than just self-supporting.
Is there a story behind the brands you carry?
Yes, the story behind our choice of brands to carry stems from our growth strategy. Being an unknown in the coffee and tea retail world, we felt like we would need to initially re-sell well-known name brands at competitive prices while we develop our own brand of direct-trade, specialty coffees from around the world. Our objective in selecting which farms to do business with is first and foremost the quality of the coffee beans they are growing and processing. But that is not the only criteria. We look to build relationships with western coffee experts who want to develop the skills of the people who farm the coffees.
This will lead to a steady and sustainable business for the farmers who labor to produce the coffees we love. To date, we have connected with farms in China, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Jamaica, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Uganda and Guatemala. Apart from expert, on-site training the farmers receive in better agricultural and processing methods, there are many community needs in each of these locations that City Centre Coffee (CCC) hopes to positively impact by volunteering a portion of our earned margin. Our national partners are best placed to advise us of the unique needs of each farming community and the practical ways that CCC can help. We believe the City Centre Coffee brand is unique in its ambition to be known not for lining the pockets of its owners, but for its assistance and support of the world’s needy while delivering an outstanding product at competitive prices.
Tell us a little about the charities you are partnered with and the positive impact City Center Coffee is making!
My engineering career was spent working in the oil and gas industry living in a number of different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Latin America. I witnessed first-hand the poverty, political oppression and crime that plagued most people in these locations. Over time, I came to know of individuals and organizations who were taking action to help various people groups and I aligned myself and my company with them for their support. For example, we support an effort in Asia (the countries will remain unidentified) where trafficked girls and children are rescued from the sex slave trade industry. Unfortunately, when these girls are recovered and brought back to their homes and families, they are unwanted for fear of public ostracism and the potential shame to the family and the father. They end up hopeless without homes through no fault of their own.
Our local partner houses these children, loves them and restores their sense of self-worth. They teach them skills that are useful for starting their own businesses and marketing their products into the western world. Another effort we are helping with is preserving the mango harvest in Uganda so that fewer children there will suffer from malnutrition later in the year. The mango harvest is prolific but much of it spoils due to lack of preservation. Malnutrition is a major problem in Uganda but it is solvable with a little forethought, training and investment. We are also partnering with local charities here in the US to help provide housing to the homeless and food to the hungry.
Are there any future plans regarding opening a physical coffee shop and selling your coffee brands there? OR What do you hope City Center Coffee will grow to become in your first year of business?
Yes! We plan to open our first coffee shop in Liberty Lake, Washington later this year. We will sell our own specialty coffees and will actually be roasting in the coffee shop where our customers can experience firsthand the production process from green bean to cup as well as enjoy truly fresh specialty coffee.