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Why We Care so Gosh Darn Much!

You might be asking yourself, why do Nate and Val care so much about their Community Coffee program and why is “doing well by doing good” a central part of their business model?

10 years ago, we were faced with a life-threatening condition.  At that time we didn’t know what was going to happen, where we were going to end up and how we were going to pay for the medical bills.  Heck we didn’t even know if we were going to live in this country…  Because of this experience we were humbled by the generosity of our friends and family who helped support us through 18 months of the most challenging time we have ever experienced. 

And it was during this time of need that we learned the true spirit of giving.  How when we all come together we can do great things.  How even small things can make big differences.  

It is because of this life altering situation that we learned now is the time to do exactly what you want to do and to never take life for granted.  So we started making plans.  We starting figuring out how we could dare to live our dreams.  We worked hard.  We saved.  We took small steps everyday to make our goal of opening a coffee roastery happen.

Once we got open and things were humming along, we felt it was our duty as community members to help in the way we knew best we could: by bringing people good coffee NO MATTER WHAT!  So, while we can’t donate to every cause that we would like too, and we can’t do ALL the community supported effort we want to, we do our best to bring coffee to those in need when we are able.  

It is in the spirit of our friends and family, who so many years ago opened their hearts to our situation, that we pursue our mission to “do well by doing good”.  

So even though we reached our initial goal, there is still so much more to do.  We still need more backers to join the 250 that have already backed the campaign.  We want to reach Stretch Goal #4, so we can bring Community Coffee to more locations.  

We know when we do things together, great things happen.  This isn’t about Nate or myself.  This is about all of us.  We are doing this together, and we hope you will join us on these last few days of our campaign.

Click here to Back our Campaign

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What are we funding?

Keweenaw Coffee Works is ready to install a new roasting machine.  Right now we are operating on a 6lb roasting machine, roasting 15 to 18 lbs per hour.  Our new machine will be able to roast 25 lb per batch, with an output of approximately 80 to 100 lbs per hours, greatly increasing our capacity and supply capabilities so we can bring delicious specialty coffee to more locations across the U.P. and Midwest.  

Initial Funding Goal

Our initial funding is set at $25,000.  This will help ensure our roaster is installed correctly by the roasting machine manufacturer, as well as support the funding we already have tucked away for build-out and inspections.  We won’t be funded unless we meet the initial goal, since Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

Additional Funding Beyond Goal

Additional funding beyond the $25,000 will help us make some much needed upgrades to our current manufacturing capabilities as well as give us the freedom to hire some new crew members and provide 4 to 5 more jobs to our community.

Additional funding needs include: (in no particular order of importance)

  • Fully branded/upgraded packaging and professional label printer - $8,000
  • Purchase of a delivery vehicle/trailer and hire a dedicated delivery person - $10,000
  • Purchase additional equipment needed to run a successful roastery and tasting facility including a forklift and other tools used to move heavy pallets and 132lb bags of coffee - $5,450
  • Upgrade our capabilities to support our wholesale customers by hiring a trainer and a few independent sales reps to support the growing demand of our products - $2,500
  • Within 6 months of crowdfunding fulfillment, hire 2 to 3 full time roastery crew members for order fulfillment and logistics management.  This includes additional training through various coffee related educational programs. - $3,000 to $5,000
  • Meet government and NFP branding and labeling regulations so that we can properly label ethically sourced coffees - $2,000

 Why is this the right time?

Keweenaw Coffee Works has maintained steady business growth over the last 3.5 years of operation.  We also see demand in the specialty coffee industry steadily increasing over the next 3 to 5 years.  We are near capacity and need to upgrade our manufacturing capabilities so that we can continue to grow our business, still provide exceptional customer service and bring jobs to our community. 

KCW’s mission is to join our customers on their coffee sensory experience by offering friendship and education, but also by meeting and exceeding what customers expect from the high end specialty coffee industry.  Another part of our company philosophy is “to do well by doing good”, so community outreach and philanthropy are at the core of our business model.  That is why we feel now is the right time to grow our business, so we can increase brand awareness in ways that really make a positive impact for our community that has seen sustained job loss over the last couple of decades. 

We are one of a few growing business on our main street, and by funding this project you will also be helping our community grow.  A successful campaign means expanding our operations so we can employee 4 to 5 more people within the next year, as well as giving us further flexibility in our giving coffee offerings, which benefits various organizations locally and nationally. 

Risks and Challenges

Keweenaw Coffee Works has been in operation since 2013.  We have experience in taking our product to market and working with government licensing agencies that will be responsible for approving construction and installation of our new roasting machine and production facility.  As with any construction project, things always take longer than expected, and that is why we have placed the fulfillment date of our crowdfunding campaign to August and September of 2017.  This should give us more than enough time to complete the work needed for phase 1, get the local and state governmental approvals so that our manufacturing facility can operate and pump out more of the delicious specialty coffee we are already producing, as well as fulfill our backer orders in a timely manner.


Crowdfunding Launch Date - TBA

Beginning of March pending approving from funding platform

Approximate Project Timeline 

  • Upon successful funding of our crowdfunding campaign, we will immediately get to work on finalizing our manufacturing facility details and location
  • May/June 2017 - First phase of rewards will ship to backers
  • Assuming initial inspections and plans are reviewed in a timely manner, we expect to begin construction by May 2017
  • Construction/Installation/Final inspection of the roasting machine should take approximately 8 to 10 weeks
  • As we near the end of the construction/installation phase, KCW will set a date for our private backer event
  • We will also begin the process of the backer blend coffee selections toward the end of the construction phase, so that we can meet our August 2017 deadline for delivery of coffee.
  • Date selection for private coffee sensory events, coffee roaster for the day and create your own coffee blend can be scheduled once we have completed inspection.  We will email backers who select these rewards, once we have confirmation date of final inspections.



    Backers of our campaign will have the opportunity to purchase from some amazing rewards, only available to those that fund our campaign.

    Some of the offerings include:

    • Coffee - Lots and Lots of coffee
    • Original Artwork
    • Cool Apparel, including a camp mug and t-shirt
    • Come party with us at our Backer only exclusive event!
    • Hang with Roaster Nate for the day and learn how to roast coffee like a pro!
    • Grab 5 of your pals and join us for a private coffee sensory experience
    • Create your own coffee blend and we will package it and give you all the credit!
    • Coffee delivery for 1 year!
    • and so much more…..!

    What is Crowdfunding?

    There are several crowdfunding platforms out there, but Keweenaw Coffee Works is choosing to use Kickstarter to launch their campaign.  If you are not familiar with what crowdfunding is or how it works, we wanted to give you a brief explanation.

    Crowdfunding is a great way for small businesses and organizations to gain momentum, build their business, and source financial funding by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.  It gives the individual funding the project a reward or experience, not an investment or a stake in the business it is purchasing the reward from.

    If our campaign is funded, you get your reward set at a future date…think of it like pre-ordering a book that hasn’t been released yet.  If our campaign is not funded within 30 to 35 days of launch, you will not be charged for the amount of the reward you selected.  Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, meaning if we don’t reach our goal, you don’t get charged.

    For further information on Kickstarter’s crowdfunding platform, click here

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