Changing lives in the community … one cup and one heart at a time. That’s the mission of The Branch Gathering Place + Coffee House (https://www.thebranchgreensburg.com), which opened June 25 in the heart of downtown Greensburg, Indiana.
“The Branch is a place to come together, connect with others, and share friendships,” said Alex Sefton, executive director of local nonprofit All for One Ministry. “Coffee is just the delicious way to accomplish these goals!” All for One Ministry created The Branch after a community needs assessment pinpointed the need for a local coffee shop.
“We wanted to create a place where all who enter are welcome, loved, and cared about. And, of course, enjoy terrific coffee and locally-baked treats.” One barrier was their lack of specialty coffee experience. To learn how to open and run a coffee shop (https://www.crimsoncup.com/open), Sefton and Manager Samantha Baldwin turned to award-winning coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea.
Sefton’s expertise was in ministry and community services. He is a full-time student, working on a Master of Public Administration in nonprofit leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University. Baldwin brings nearly 20 years of restaurant experience and a passion for the community.
“Congratulations to Alex, Samantha, and their team at All for One Ministry on the opening of The Branch Gathering Place + Coffee House,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “We’re excited to help them achieve their unique vision for serving the local Greensburg community.”
Through its 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program, Crimson Cup has helped open over 200 independent coffee shops serving local communities in 30 states. The 7 Steps program has been so successful that, even during the 2020 pandemic, the Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster helped 19 entrepreneurs open new coffee shops. At least another 20 shops plan to open in 2021.
The program grew based on Ubert’s book, Seven Steps to Success: a Commonsense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee. “We give new owners everything they need to succeed – starting with writing a solid coffee shop business plan and choosing a profitable location,” Ubert said. “Our on site, hands-on training and ongoing support help them master all other aspects of running a prosperous coffee business.”
Sefton said he was drawn to Crimson Cup because of its emphasis on relationships. “We wanted to connect with a company that invests in the communities they source coffee from.” Through its Friend2Farmer initiatives, the company invests in life-enriching projects to provide a better quality of life for coffee farmers, their families, and their communities.
Sefton also appreciated the benefit of working with a one-stop coffee business consultant and supplier. “7 Steps Trainer Steve Bayless was amazing,” he said.
Bayless conducted intense, on-site training in drink preparation and coffee shop management during the week leading up to opening day. He will return to help out during the shop’s Grand Opening. “Having a designated project manager who knows the ropes and has done this a hundred-plus times was essential,” Sefton said.
Crimson Cup supplies award-winning coffee, coffee business expertise, and industry-leading coffee shop supplies. “We offer all the benefits of a coffee shop franchise – and more – without expensive franchise fees or royalties,” Ubert said. Sefton found Step Four, Focus on Marketing, the most valuable of the 7 Steps in Crimson Cup’s program.
“That’s really allowed us to draw more people to our products,” he said. “Having a dynamic presence on social media and creating one-on-one relationships with our customers is helping us grow.” Honoring its community roots, The Branch occupies the old Schlemmer Wholesale Building on the historic Greensburg Square. An antique candy case displays local homemade goodies.
Despite the vintage setting, the shop also uses technology to bring people together. It offers high-speed wireless internet and a conference room suitable for 12 people. Customers can also download an app to earn rewards and skip the line. The coffee, roasted by Crimson Cup, is already winning rave reviews. “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive remarks about how good the drinks are,” Baldwin said.
The most popular drink is the signature Branch Mocha, which melds white chocolate and caramel with espresso. After two-and-a-half years of preparing to open The Branch, Sefton offered this advice for other prospective coffee shop owners: “Do whatever you can to impact your community. At the end of the day, coffee is coffee. Your signature mark is your willingness to love on the community you serve.”
The Branch Gathering Place + Coffee House is open six days a week at 113 North Broadway Street in Greensburg, Indiana. About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is celebrating 30 years of Coffee + Community. Since May 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced craft coffee for consumers and wholesale coffee customers. It is a 2020 Good Food Award winner, 2019 Golden Bean Champion for Small Franchise/Chain Roaster, and Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year.
Through its 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program, the company teaches entrepreneurs to run independent coffee houses in their local communities. By developing a coffee shop business plan, entrepreneurs gain insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop.
Crimson Cup also supports life-enriching projects through its Friend2Farmer® initiatives, promoting the education, health, sustainability, and economic growth of small-plot coffee farmers and their communities.
Crimson Cup coffee is available through over 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, colleges and universities, restaurants, and food service operations across 30 states, Guam, and Bangladesh. The company also operates several Crimson Cup Coffee Houses and a new Crimson retail flagship store.
To learn more, visit crimsoncup.com, or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.