• floydsaunders

Making Coffee, Building a Community

By Floyd Saunders

The complete interview with Andrew Gough is in our podcast.

It seems like just a few years ago, Wichita, KS didn’t really have a coffee shop scene. But in just the past few years, as the city has started a revival of its downtown core a sense of community, especially among emerging entrepreneurs has blossomed in coffee places like Reverie.

Recently we had the opportunity to discuss this idea of intentional community, with Andrew Gough, the founder of Reverie Roasters, in our podcast.

Reverie Roasters is a local company and it includes wholesale operations, coffee shops, a bakery and a community events space.

Andrew didn’t start out thinking he would flourish as an entrepreneur with a business focused on community and coffee. He first completed a degree in public relations at Kansas State University and then worked first in a local financial services company where he coordinated and delivered retirement planning education to local businesses employees.

It while traveling for work, that he first realized the challenge for a local coffee establishment is building up excellent coffee experience but also a place for community. He saw this first hand while working in other cities. he noticed that many of these cities have a rather robust business community connecting with several independent coffee place, where meeting and connecting with others was as important as the beverages served. He also learned that coffee as a business is a service industry that attracts younger workers.

As he started his entrepreneurial journey, one of the first groups he engaged with was One Million Cups, a local group for connecting business leaders to each other. His presentation was the foundation for his continued support of the group by providing free coffee to the group each week.

Knowing he needed help to get his business up and running successfully, he applied and was accepted into the first e2e Accelerator program, now NXTUS. Andrew would later engaged with the Wichita State LaunchPrep program and worked with the Small Business Development Center to get his business plans launched.

He also found a relationship with Network Kansas provided a number of connections and a grant to do some research for a program called economic gardening.

Andrew has always had an expansion, growth mindset and looking back at his first five-year plan, realized that he achieved those goals, but the goals were not his focus, it was really building community around coffee.

His why for being engaged in the community is really simple: “I believe communities blooms in the presence of opportunity.”

At Reverie, they are committed to how they source, roast, and serve coffee. The coffee beans come from various origins around the world and are chosen through a rigorous sourcing process. At the café, they offer pour overs, craft espresso beverages, cold brew,

and delicious drip coffee.

Reverie builds a sense of community by making it a comfortable place for anyone to meet, study, or even just relax and get some alone time. One of the things that happen at Reverie is they ignite meaningful connections among team members and customers, creating a place for opportunities to happen, and the community to thrive.

For Andy his love for coffee is because coffee is a connector. It provides opportunity for conversation or to break the ice in an uncomfortable situation.

What was surprising to me was Andrew has a real philosophy about building a business around a sense of community. He is certainly one guy that we need to have back on Saunders and Cash as we develop more discussions around what it means to build a community for entrepreneurship to flourish.

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