Back in 2000, when I first had the idea for a coffee shop, most casual observers told me not to bother starting a coffee company because Starbucks had the market cornered and there was limited room left for growth. I listened to the naysayers then. I’m not listening anymore. You’ve probably listened to some bad advice as well, just to turn around years later and see someone doing exactly what you wanted to do. The only difference is they didn’t give up. The coffee industry is still booming, as evidenced by growing companies, growing markets, and growing partners.
Growing Companies. According to Nick Brown of Daily Coffee News, Blue Bottle is scheduled to open a 5,000 square foot storefront and training center ton Washington D.C. this is Blue Bottle’s first foray into the D.C. market, having only opened stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Japan up until now. Also from Daily Coffee News, Howard Bryman reported Stringbean Coffee is growing their company in St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2011, the unique roaster has upgraded and expanded three times.
This just goes to show that there is rooming the market for your unique ideas. Mine, too. Pursue your passion, do it well, and people will respond. Both Blue Bottle and Stringbean have clear identities. Make sure your business has an identity as well. It could take a little bit of time to figure it out, just don’t give up! There is also opportunity to operate outside your comfort zone in coffee, as more markets emerge and expand.
Growing Markets. Packaged Facts published a new report in early December, 2016, Coffee and Ready-To-Drink Coffee: U.S. Retail Market, 9th Edition, that can be purchased on their site. Their study indicated that sales of ground coffee were losing market share to packaged coffee drinks and single cup coffee drinks. They broke the market up into three segments.
1. Single-cup coffee.
2. Cappuccino/Iced Coffee.
3. Refrigerated ready-to-drink coffee. This emerging market was estimated at $13.5 billion, and Packaged Facts estimated growth to $18 billion by 2020.
My own limited research confirms their study. There are more cans and bottles of coffee than ever in gas stations and grocery stores. Amazon even has a “Dash” button for Starbucks Double-Shot drinks. Yes, you can order canned Starbucks from your pantry. It’s happening and there is room for you in the market. There’s also room for Orange Cactus. Quality and marketing will separate the top brands from the rest of the pack. Figure out your supply chain, and you could very well get into that emerging market with new partners you never thought of before.
Growing Partners. In a similar vein, retailers like Sam’s Club are actually looking for local producers of quality goods, especially consumables. Costco has already proven that bringing in local and organic grocers is a key to driving sales growth. Others are following suit. This is good news for all of us, who may not want to grow into a national brand so fast. Stay local- there’s room.
In fact, the coffee industry is growing and there’s room for all of us in it.