I got connected to Patrick, owner of Kailua Town Coffee Roasters, because they supply the coffee for my client, Nalu Health Bar. I had had numerous cups of coffee during meetings with Nalu and when it came time to create some contain about their sustainability efforts (including local items and ingredients they carry) I was tasked with visiting the roastery.
This was my first time in a roastery and I instantly fell in love. One, because I'm a coffee lover and addict, and two, because I'd never seen the process of roasting before and I love to see how things are made!
At first glance, it's easy to see Patrick's passion and love of his coffee and the business he is building. His one employee Glenn is right there with him, and so clearly loves everything to do with the subtleties of a great cup of coffee!
I assumed that this desire to own a roastery had come from some long history of working in the world of coffee, but was shocked to find out that Patrick was actually active military and spent much of his time flying jets and teaching pilots how to fly better! KTCR was actually started by a couple, Brad and Donna (Patrick's neighbors and friends), in 2010 and when they were ready to retire, Patrick felt that couldn't let their 10-years of coffee creations disappear from the community! He purchased the business in 2020 and has been enjoying the experience ever since.
I had to know the story of where he and KTCR aligned and much of that can be found in a blog we wrote with him for the website. To read more in depth on the story of this roastery, click here.
Since meeting Patrick, we have written numerous blogs, photographed his product line for his new website and Instagram shopping, did a website audit for necessary additions, taken over his social media, and now we are working on packaging, brochures, and sales distribution!
Since this was an acquisition, I wondered if any part of the product offering had altered since inception and if so, what? "We kept the baseline recipes and blends that are the staple of the business," Patrick tells me. "We have expanded to some new customers and, depending on each year's crops, add a specialty such as Kona Prime, Guatemalan, or whatever has really good ratings that we can get here on Oahu."
Coming into a previously established business has its positives and negatives. While much of the grunt work has been done (YAY!), it doesn't mean it's been done to the highest level, it doesn't mean all things have been considered, and it doesn't mean it's the direction you want to take it. However, it DOES mean an insane amount of catch up to learn the product and business inside and out. You need to learn how everything operates, the products carried, the monthly costs, how marketing and distribution has happened in the past, who current and potential customers are, and understand your competition. You also have to determine if you will continue the path and expand with your own mark, or maybe pivot in a different direction.
I asked Patrick, "What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?" And he responded with, " I'd say that preparing for tax season definitely requires detailed financial planning, and all of the insurances and taxes required by Hawaii. But even through these challenges, providing a quality product that we believe in and working with other local, small business owners makes it all worth it!" That challenge is something all entrepreneurs can relate to. In fact I cannot wait for the day that PlanIt is financially able to hire someone to handle everything related to money :) A next natural question I asked was, "If you could tell yourself something from the get go, what would you say?" "I'd say do exactly what you've been doing and keep expanding your circle to bring in and meet many interesting people that enjoy offering little aspects that make the business more of a group experience and collaboration."
One final question I had as someone who does business with Patrick, but also as someone who is a major fan of the product- "What’s next for your business, or for you? Or both?!"
"Growth is good but I want to maintain the small business feel where I get to know each wholesale customer," he tells me. "Quality is more important than quantity, and if done right, the business will naturally grow. Next will be some product expansion and fun merchandise."
Thanks Patrick! Looking forward to the new products!