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Center for Engagement and Community Development

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Blacksmith Coffee

K-State Engagement E-News, Summer 2010 (PDF)

by Meghan Rausch

Mark and Nancy Galloway started Blacksmith Coffee in November 2008 with the goal of creating a coffee brand that would be the Kansas coffee. They wanted a coffee that would be roasted in a way to appeal to Kansas pallets and would also be affordable and Kansans could get it fresh.

Blacksmith Coffee, which the Galloways donated to the Rural Grocery Store Summit, can be purchased in almost 70 Kansas stores. However, you won't find their coffee in big box stores, only in smaller independent stores.

"We've taken the approach to focus on independent stores because they are like the lifeblood of the community. When those grocery stores close, like schools and banks, usually the community starts to fall apart." Mark Galloway said.

By developing Blacksmith Coffee, the Galloways have taken their own approach to help rural grocery stores. "Independent grocery stores shouldn't try to compete with box stores, the Wal-Marts and Krogers of the world. They should develop a niche, something that consumers can't get at the box stores," said Galloway.

Blacksmith Coffee is a "niche product" that small stores can carry and box stores can't. The Kansas coffee gives people a reason to visit these independent grocery stores because consumers can't get it anywhere else. Galloway believes that these unique products are key in getting customers, and would like to see others develop "niche products" as well.

Blacksmith Coffee is a great product for small independent stores because they don't have a minimum case quantity. Stores are able to mix and match different kinds of coffee in each box. The coffee is also roasted every Monday and gets shipped that same week, so grocery stores can get a fresh and affordable product.

For more information visit: blacksmithcoffee.com