The end of an era

UPDATE: The market location issue has been solved and it is now operating at 234 Matlage Way, Sugar Land, TX 77478.

Last week, we received some shocking news. The Farmer's Market at Imperial (our home for the past 4 years) will be closing after November 18. Yes, it is supposed to reopen at some point, but there is no timeline set (could be months, could be years). To say we are sad to see it go is an understatement.

One of our early markets from our first year of business.

One of our early markets from our first year of business.

In July of 2013, Fort Bend Coffee Roasters ran their first booth at the Sugar Land market. We were a bit crazy to try to sell coffee in the middle of a Texas Summer, but somehow it caught on. The good people of Sugar Land loved our coffee and we grew bit by bit. I still remember those first weeks when we roasted our coffee at the market and sold 4 varieties (including Marty's Blend!).  I can say with absolute certainty, that we would not be where we are today without this market. It was our first proof of concept; with low cost of entry, and easy access to people who cared about local food and were willing to pay more for something better.

But, our story is one of growth and success. After a year of Saturday mornings, we took the plunge and opened a commercial roastery. But the market was still the majority of our revenue in our second year. And it was still the place we met most of our new wholesale customers. Our little outdoor coffee bar was impressive enough to land us new accounts. Our business was still, at its core, a farmer's market (with a few coffee shops and restaurants for support).

So, roughly 200 markets later, we have two more markets to go before the end. This Saturday (11/11), I've got my (recently hired) employee Jorge running the booth. Then, on the final market (11/18) my wife and I will run the booth together, just like we did most Saturdays in our first year. We want to take this time to reflect and to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the support you have given us these past 4 years. You have made Fort Bend Coffee Roasters a reality! So on the 18th, we will have some bags for sale, but the cups of coffee will be free. If you have been one our regulars, I hope you can make it as we want to thank you in person.

Ok, so enough of the sentimentality, where will you be getting your coffee after the market ends? I'm glad you asked. First, check out our find our coffee page for a complete list. You can order online and have it shipped to your door. Shipping prices are best for 2 bags at a time. You can also order online and have the coffee delivered to one of our coffee shop accounts (no shipping fee). Currently this is available for First Cup Cafe in Fulshear and Blockhouse Coffee and Kitchen in Richmond. Also, we are talking with a soon-to-open restaurant in Sugar Land Town Center and along with serving our coffee, they may also carry our retail bags. Keep on eye on our website for this.

That's the bags, but what about the pour-over bar. That's where we get to slightly more exciting news. We are very close to signing a lease on a new space for our roastery that will also include a coffee bar! No, it won't be in Sugar Land (sorry!) but it will feature our coffee done the way we want, and you will be able to see the roasting process too. I promise more news on this once we get closer. In the meantime, visit one of the coffee shops or restaurants that we supply.

Finally, we are sad to see the market go, but timing is not too bad for us. This would have been devastating for our business even a year ago. Many of my fellow vendors don't have large revenue streams outside of their market business. Do what you can to support them as they find other avenues to sell their goods.

Bryan Hibbard1 Comment