Movin' on up / by Bryan Hibbard

What we are doing, right now.

Well, it has been an eventful couple of months for FBCR. And with it, lots of changes have happened. In the last two months we doubled our production with the addition of First Cup Cafe and other smaller customers. We have also agreed to supply another shop in Katy that will be opening in the late Fall 2015. This will be a coffee and pie shop (suffice to say, I am pretty excited--mostly about the pie--but I think this is a great venue for our coffee). I will share more as we get closer to their opening date.

Our own coffee shop in Richmond, TX is still about 6 months out but I am busy making preparations and planning our vision for the shop. We are also considering a second location in Sugar Land, but I better not get ahead of myself...

With all this new growth, something had to give, so I am sad to say that we are no longer running a booth at the Fulshear Farmers' Market. We are still doing the Imperial market in Sugar Land. My buddy Chris who runs Affinity Craft Chocolate has been helping me keep the booth running in Sugar Land and we are committed to it since it is currently our only retail space in Sugar Land. So if you are one of my Fulshear market customers, what do you do? Well, First Cup Cafe in Cross Creek Ranch (corner of Fry and 1463) is offering a full line of my bags. As well, we offer free delivery on our online store for all Fulshear residents (anything inside the 77441 area code). We have loved being at the Fulshear Market from opening day and we will miss the opportunity to connect directly with our community.

That brings me to today's rant:

Why you should support farmers' markets

We started with a cool idea. Roast coffee and sell it fresh. But where and how could we do that? I am so thankful to have the farmers' market venue as a low cost entry into the retail world. For the cost of a booth, we get to put our product in front of hundreds of people each week. And we get to present a uniquely personal experience where we meet every customer. Without this venue, we would never have gotten our idea off the ground. The markets are where we met new friends, gained loyal customers, and met other business people who were looking for a good coffee roaster. This was our little way to show, we are legit, we know what we are doing, and our product is worth buying.

In my second year of business, I learned just how important having farmers' markets as a steady income source and a stream of new customers. Getting someone who already has a successful coffee shop to switch their coffee supplier is hard. And it has taken us years of work to gain enough traction to actually be taken seriously in the larger market. But at the farmers' market, we were always taken seriously, even as we bumbled through our first few weeks of selling. It was our lab to make mistakes, test ideas, and get real customer feedback.

All this to say, there are lots of other entrepreneurs just like me trying to get their idea off the ground. If you try their product at a farmers' market and it is exceptional, you should do a few things. 1. Become a loyal customer and keep them in business. 2. Tell your friends, share about them on social media, mention them at a place that has the same product (but that product is not nearly as good as what you get at the farmers' market). What we little entrepreneurs need is legitimacy. We need average people who don't know us saying, "your product is awesome." The retail world is crowded and confusing and lead by people who are experts in getting us to buy stuff. If you find an authentic business making an amazing product, make it your personal mission to see them succeed. That is what so many of our customers did for us and we are so thankful! None of that would have been possible without the chance we got at our local farmers' markets.