Describe your success story.
Originally my home coffee roasting project, Color Coffee Roasters is the culmination of years of obsessive research, backyard tinkering, traveling, and the desire to spread the gospel of great coffee. At our Roastery and Coffee Bar in Eagle, I have made it my mission to share what I’ve learned with the world. Beyond our location in Eagle, we currently provide roasted coffee to some of the top cafes and restaurants in the Vail Valley, Aspen, Fort Collins, Boulder, Salt Lake City, and Southern California. I believe our focus on great design and best-in-class product has allowed us to proliferate in the Vail Valley and out into bigger markets and will continue to pave the way to future success and growth.
Why did you choose to do business in the Vail Valley?
We chose to work in the Vail Valley for a few reasons. The first being the most obvious, the lifestyle. It’s just a great place to live for being active and living a healthy lifestyle. The outdoor access is unparalleled AND there are so many people here doing inspirational things in the outdoors.
Second, we chose to be here because we saw it as a great location to build our brand. We strive to incorporate the active mountain lifestyle into our brand ID.
Finally, we saw the need in Eagle and the Valley, for a more modern coffee shop concept. We wanted to build something approachable and accessible, but a bit more refined and urban feeling. Just because we’re up here living the dream in the clean mountain air, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the same amenities and vibes as someone living in RiNO or Downtown Boulder.
Please list some major accomplishments that your company has achieved?
As a young company, we have had several major accomplishments. On the wholesale side, seeing our coffee being served in places like Aspen, Los Angeles, Denver, Fort Collins has been a dream come true. In particular, one my favorite coffee shops in the world located in Los Angeles, G&B Coffee, bought a bunch of a Colombian coffee called Guanacas. They’re revered in the industry as trend setters with amazing palates and taste, so to see them purchase our coffee less than a year into our existence was kind of mind blowing.
On the cafe side, we’ve been proud to see continued growth and traffic. Now we’re focused on bringing more to the menu and expanding our offerings. Whether it’s craft beer, natural wine, or grilled cheeses, we strive to bring the same level of deliciousness to everything on our menu. Finally, we just started an in-house baking program, which has been kicking butt so far!
What are the advantages of doing business here?
We love doing business here! For me it’s the best of both worlds, you get the small town community vibes AND the people here are sophisticated, friendly, creative, and hungry for new experiences and options. Our vendors, neighbors, and guests have been hugely supportive and instrumental to our success. The community is strong and building connections and friendships is key to doing business in this valley.
Additionally we have a world-wide audience that is visiting the valley pretty much year round now. The opportunity to showcase what we’re doing here to that many people has definitely been an asset to us. People want to experience local products while they’re visiting, and for us the biggest challenge to creating new business is getting people to taste our coffee. Once they do, it’s often times a done deal. Being in the valley gives us plenty of these opportunities, not only at our cafe, but also at our up-valley wholesale accounts.
Are you involved in the community? If so, how?
Our cafe has been a new hub for the community in Eagle Ranch. Just opening up our doors and having our big community tables has given the community an awesome place to meet. I view coffee shops as pillars of community connection for business, groups, friends, students, etc, and our cafe is no exception. The Eagle Chamber of Commerce, Student Advocacy groups, wellness groups, girl scouts, all meet here on a regular basis and all of them tell me how much they love having the space here as an option. It’s big and spacious and there really are food/drink options for everyone. We don’t just sell coffee beverages.
Color was instrumental in bringing in a new mountain running trail race to Eagle, called Mountain Rats. We also sponsored Eagle YogaFest this year. We work closely with Yoga Off Broadway and supporting Eagle YogaFest was a no-brainer. We love having them as our neighbor and believe fully in the power of yoga to bring positive change in people’s lives.
How do you acquire and retain you staff? What do you look for when hiring?
Attracting great talent to work at Color has been a key focus of ours as well as paramount to our success. When people come into our space and the staff is focused, attentive, and positive, I believe that is our greatest marketing tool in attracting new talent.
Staff retention can be challenging in a place like the Vail Valley. High living costs and a lack of affordable housing make it hard for younger professionals to make it work up here. To counter this, we want to make working here as enjoyable as possible, offer competitive wages, and try to be as flexible as possible when scheduling. Also…Free Coffee!
What advice would you give to someone entering our mountain economy?
We have a different seasonality down here in Eagle and are still trying to figure it out. The challenge for us is matching the expense side of the business with the slower times here in the Valley. You have to be ready to make decisions on a dime or you’ll pay at the end of the month.
The other one is that business here is highly relational. That is, a lot of our business is done face-to-face. I love supporting people who support us. If I have free time, I love visiting our accounts and checking in. It doesn’t hurt that many of my accounts have amazing food and drink programs!