Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leticia Hutchins, founder of Alma Coffee, based in Canton, Georgia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Alma Coffee was founded in 2018 by high school sweethearts Harry & Leticia Hutchins and Leticia's dad, Al Lopez! Roasting coffee was completely new to our family but coffee certainly was not. Our family has actually been in coffee farming for over 5 generations! For years, our family farmed coffee in Honduras but never had the ability to take it to the next step and roast it for themselves. This all changed when we started Alma Coffee and the full coffee chain was vertically integrated from farm to cup.
Today, we continue to grow our delicious coffee on our USDA certified organic farms in Honduras and then directly send that very coffee to our roastery in North Georgia where we roast fresh to order every single day. Alma Coffee is focused on providing the freshest and highest quality coffee to all the amazing caffeine lovers out there.
Tell us about yourself
Like many others, I have always enjoyed coffee, I grew up drinking coffee with my parents so it has always had a certain nostalgia for me. Untraditionally, I grew up visiting my paternal family in Honduras every year and would visit our family farms, playing in the trees and munching on the coffee cherries. I truly thought, every kid did this!
As I grew up , I learned that visiting origin is the dream for so many in the coffee industry. I originally decided to start working on the concept of Alma Coffee because of my husband Harry. He came to me one day after visiting our family farms for the first time and had the idea of joining the family business and taking it one step further.
I absolutely loved the idea and from there we put our business plan together and started absorbing every single think we could about coffee. Thankfully we had an accounting background, having had careers at CPA firms so we were able to make sure the business would be financially sound prior to starting it. Fast forward a few years later, and Alma Coffee is our living dream come true! We keep ourselves motivated every single day by our 3 key pillars which are improving lives, using sustainable practices, and crafting extraordinary coffee. Every decision we make is intentional in fulfilling these 3 pillars and that is truly what motivates us!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is a hard one! Sometimes surviving another day feels like my biggest accomplishment :) But in reality, the biggest accomplishment is being able to be a positive light in someone's day. Our roastery/cafe is a destination and being able to put a smile on a customers face as you hand them their cup of coffee, freshly roasted bag, or even talk to them about where the coffee comes from is absolutely priceless. Additionally, the family that we have built is a huge accomplishment that Harry and I are beyond thankful for! We have been so lucky in having found co-workers who care just as much about our business as we do and go above and beyond to make the Alma Coffee experience second to none.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
This can change season to season but the constant need to make decisions can be difficult. Every day we are faced with new decisions to make and as quick as we have to be to make them, they can have very long lasting affects. Thankfully Harry and I take everything as a team and we have each other to bounce ideas off of!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Starting a business is tough and you are going to want to give up lots of times but keep going, keep persevering, and don't give up! My top 3 tips are:
1. Put together a business plan.
2. Do not underestimate the importance of marketing. We spend a lot of money on marketing every year and it is so worth it! Sometimes you can’t quantitatively analyze the results, but they are there! Just ask yourself, how many times have you legitimized a company based on their aesthetic Instagram even though you know nothing about the company itself?
3. Consider if you can offer your product or service online. In today's times especially, it is my opinion that being able to sell online is almost a must!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you drink coffee, we'd love you to consider trying our coffee! I know it can be hard to go away from what you are used to and drink every single morning but I encourage you to try the Alma difference. Not only do we roast fresh to order but you can rest assured that you are supporting the coffee farmers directly with every single penny you spend :)
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.