Robert Ewald and his wife, Jackie, were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary last summer in Green Bay, Wisconsin, when they found freshly roasted cups of coffee.
It smelled better and tasted better than most cups of coffee they’d had before. Ewald already had a successful lawn maintenance company, Ewald Services Inc. in Machesney Park. But his cup of coffee got him thinking.
He began talking to consultants about launching his own coffee brand, Fresh Horizons Coffee Co. He and his wife officially launched their enterprise during the week of Thanksgiving.
They’ve been roasting and packaging coffee beans in the basement of Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St. The beans are freshly roasted for each order.
Buyers can dedicate a certain percentage of sales to local partnering nonprofit organizations that include the Epilepsy Foundation North/Central Illinois Iowa &Nebraska.
Depending on the nonprofits’ promotion of the coffee, whether it’s via social media or serving and selling the coffee at events, up to 18 percent of the money raised from coffee sales could be returned to the designated nonprofit organization.
“People should try our coffee because it’s fresh,” Robert Ewald said. “It serves a purpose beyond just providing a caffeine shot in the morning but gives back to the community. It helps to support a cause — many different causes — that are so important to the fabric of our community.”
Interested coffee drinkers and nonprofit organizations hoping to raise more money can find out more by visiting Fresh Horizons’ website, freshhorizonscoffee.com. Twelve ounce bags sell for a minimum of $14.99. Ewald also offers coffee pods for Keurig machines.
The Epilepsy Foundation wanted to team up with Fresh Horizons as soon as it learned of the new venture.
“We were blown away by how much Bob had really thought each detail of this endeavor through,” said Karrah Bittner, a service coordinator. “We are all coffee lovers at the Epilepsy Foundation. … We usually take turns stopping at the store to purchase coffee, so we are looking forward to having it shipped directly to us.”
Ewald hopes his company will last for another 20 years. He’s learned from running a lawn maintenance company that relationships matter, along with providing a consistent service.
“Coffee is very akin to a relationship,” he said. “It’s very community oriented.”
Ewald invested about $50,000 into his new venture. He grew up at Court Street United Methodist Church and continues to attend services there. The Rev. Calvin Culpepper said he loved having Ewald start his roasting enterprise in the church’s basement. He equates roasting coffee to singing a hymn in church.
“We’re reaching people,” he said. “That’s God’s business — people.”
Tyler Funk, 28, was one of Ewald’s lawn maintenance employees before he started roasting his coffee beans.
“I like coffee … so I was like, ‘Hey … why not?’ I find it really interesting, and I get to hang out with Bob and (his wife) Jackie. They’re fun people.
“You see the transformation,” Funk said. “It goes from green beans to roasted beans. You just see the whole transformation. It’s really cool to take it from a product that’s really gross and it doesn’t taste very well and (turn it into) something everybody loves.”
Coffee drinking trends
–62 percent of Americans drink coffee daily, up from 57 percent in 2016. The increase brings overall coffee consumption back above 2014 levels.
–Daily consumption for those 13 to 18 years of age rose to 37 percent in 2017 from 31 percent in 2016.
–For the 25- to 39-year-old age group, daily consumption rose to 63 percent from 60 percent.
–For the 40- to 59-year-old age group, daily consumption rose to 64 percent in 2017 from 53 percent in 2016.
–For those who are 60 and older, daily consumption rose to 68 percent in 2017 from 64 percent in 2016.
Source: National Coffee Association’s 2017 National Coffee Drinking Trends consumption tracking report, which was released in March.
By Susan Vela, Rockford Register Star, Ill.
(c)2017 Rockford Register Star, Ill.
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