I was introduced to Catapult after being asked by Meg Bellamy to serve on a panel for Catapult’s Innovation and Design course. At the time I was 8 years into operating my restaurant, Black & Brew, and looking to develop some new business ideas. I immediately fell in love with the space, the concept and the environment. I needed a place where I could escape the hustle + bustle and focus on planning for the future of our business. In my experience, being an entrepreneur sometimes felt like being on a deserted island. It was great to finally be in a community of my peers who were facing many of the same challenges. There were also great opportunities to collaborate, like with our video and website. Plus, Catapult has utilized our restaurant for catering needs while our new company, Patriot Coffee Roasters, is the exclusive provider of coffee for its members. Lakeland finally has its own local coffee roaster in Patriot Coffee! Patriot will be the premier supplier of freshly roasted, small-batch coffee to local restaurants, coffee houses, retailers and offices in central Florida. Our goal is to win one customer at a time through educating the individual on how truly wonderful and diverse the world of coffee can be. Chris McArthur

Owner and Founder, Patriot Coffee Roasters

A thousand congrats to Chris for acquiring his own space! We’re grateful to have been a part of his journey and will keep buying his wonderful coffee because let’s be honest: entrepreneurs always need coffee.

We sat down with Chris to get some updates on what’s been happening with Patriot since he’s moved into his new space.

Q+A with Chris McArthur

Catapult: What was the breaking point in which you realized it was your time to move out of Catapult?
Chris: It was an operational need for us! We needed a new and larger space to accommodate the commercial equipment we needed.

Catapult: How was the transition from working out of a co-working space to your own space?
Chris: I was using the co-working space for my business needs and to get some energy from other entrepreneurs. I’m still a member and occasionally come in for that same reason! I need some occasional movement.

Catapult: What are some wins for your business since you’ve moved into your new space?
Chris: I’m able to accommodate more wholesale clients, so I’ve gained more of them, like the Poor Porker. I also have a lot more wiggle room and have plenty of room to grow. I’m only roasting 1 day a week a right now!

Catapult: Have you been able to hire any new employees?
Chris: I’ve been able to hire 2 apprentices for a 6 month apprenticeship and one of them just started full-time! I’ve found that an apprenticeship works really well in this industry, so I’ve developed my own program that is mutually beneficial for me and my apprentices.

Catapult: Are you seeing an increase in growth each quarter?
Chris: I’ve seen stable growth each quarter and I’m picking up more commercial clients each month. I’m very happy with where I am and I’m not looking to grow any faster right now. 

 

Catapult: What are your secrets to customer growth?
Chris: I give over-the-top customer service. My customers can have confidence in me and my product because I can give them ability and dependability in return. It’s given me a continued positive reputation thus far! Craft coffee is all about the local market.

Catapult: What goals have changed for you from when you first started to now?
Chris: When I first started, I thought I would be focusing on retail and subscriptions, but in reality, my wholesale accounts are where I’m bringing in the most income! I also never thought I’d be able to do an origin trip in my first year. (Origin Trip = a trip to the country where the coffee Chris purchases comes from. He visits the farmers who are growing the beans he purchases.)

Catapult: Which specific aspect of Catapult can you look back on and identify as the most helpful to your business?
Chris: Catapult has been a cheerleader for us: support from the LEDC, consistent exposure, and wholesale coffee purchases each week! It’s extremely functional and the partnerships I’ve made have been invaluable.

Catapult: What’s one thing you’ve learned that you wish you knew when you first started?
Chris: Don’t reinvent the wheel! Tap into the wisdom that came before you. Be coachable, teachable, and flexible.

Catapult: What would you wish next for your business?
Chris: By 2017, I’d love to have an ideal sized team consisting of 2 full-time employees and 1 part-time employee.

More Information about Patriot Coffee

Launch Date: March 2014, roasting on back porch

In the New Space: January 2016

Square Footage: 1,750

Work hours: 12 hour days, 2 days a week

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