Coffee with a purpose. That’s the goal behind Victory Mission & Ministry’s social enterprise, dubbed For Victory. The coffee business partnered with a local company to source and roast its beans, and the participants in its restoration program run the operation.
The leaders at For Victory say their product is the coffee of choice for 15 local companies, including B2 Cafe and a new partnership with The Well downtown coffeehouse.
The goal for 2020? Double sales and provide their cup of joe to more businesses.
SBJ: What are your core products?
Grace Jones: We’ve worked with Joe [West of No Coast Coffee Roasters] to develop a variety of offerings. Our most popular one would be the Restoration Blend. It’s a medium roast house blend. We have a dark roast Brazil ... and then we have several different single-origin offerings. We have a Guatemala, an Ethiopia and Tanzania. Then they developed an espresso blend, because we have a couple of coffee shop partners now, and a decaf.
SBJ: How is the business structured?
Wes Bowen: There’s three of us who work with the coffee social enterprise. I’m the director of operations. Grace is the manager of the coffee business. Noah [Huskey] is our intern. He is part of our Restoration Program, so he’s committed 18 months of his life to getting things back on track, dealing with life controlling issues and struggles from his past. He handles packaging coffee and managing some customer relationships, making deliveries. Our goal was to bring in brand new men in our Restoration Program to come under [Noah] so he can develop their leadership skills.
SBJ: Why did you start the business?
Bowen: The business started (over) a year ago … with grant funding. We’re a not-for-profit, so everything is going back into providing case management, shelter, meals, counseling and then job development classes.
Jones: The whole purpose of the enterprise is to have that dual purpose of providing a workforce development piece for the guys in our program, and then also giving back and funding that program.
SBJ: What’s your drive to keep the business going?
Bowen: We believe that change happens in the context of relationships. We want to spend time with men in our program. We’re working with them to help develop those basic things that people need to be able to succeed. No one’s ever believed in them. It’s worth investing in them because we’ve watched men have their lives changed.
Jones: We’ve seen incredible results just from the few coffee interns we’ve had in the past year – just seeing them grow in confidence and initiative and taking ownership and interacting with customers.
SBJ: How do you ensure quality in your product?
Jones: We worked with Joe to pick out some of the best beans we possibly can. He’s a phenomenal roaster. Then just doing the beans justice and trying to educate and brewing them well and trying to raise that bar.
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.