retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times has a story this morning about Alyza Bohbot, the second generation leader of a Minnesota-based coffee company called Alakef Coffee Roasters, which he began running about three years ago. When she took over the company, it was her goal to infuse the company with new energy and attitude.

And so, “she made the start of a sister company, City Girl Coffee Company, her primary focus. Unlike Alakef, City Girl is bold and risky, from its bright-pink logo and packaging to its business plan’s central tenet: fighting gender inequity in the coffee industry.”

The Times writes: “On average, according to the International Trade Center, women do 70 percent of the work in getting coffee to market but regularly cede or are barred from financial control, so City Girl gets its beans exclusively from farms and cooperatives that are owned or managed by women. In addition, the company donates 5 percent of all profit to organizations that support women in the industry, including the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, or I.W.C.A., and Café Femenino."

What this did, the Times reports, is give the company a firm identity.

The story goes on:

“Bohbot, who has made local philanthropy an increased priority at Alakef and will introduce new packaging and an updated logo there next year, said she got personal satisfaction from City Girl’s success and being viewed as a leader among her female peers.

“When women in every industry are fighting daily battles to achieve equality, I’ feel hopeful,’ she said. ‘Women are vocalizing more than ever before. To speak out and not settle. To demand our place in society’.”
KC's View:
I have to admit that I was very happy to see this story in the Times, because City Girl Coffee has come up in this space before.

When I was complaining a few months ago about Starbucks shutting down its coffee subscription business, a friend of mine who works at City Girl sent me some samples of its Blondie Brazil Fazenda Helena coffee, which we loved … and now I have a subscription. Not only is the coffee terrific, but we feel great about the social mission behind the company.

I love a company with a firm and admirable identity. I’m happy to be in their corner.