Randy and Rick Evans
Randy Evans spent a decade in the coffee business prior to starting Evans Brothers Coffee in Sandpoint. His passion for coffee was fueled while living in Italy. He later opened and managed a high-end cafe on the island of Maui, where he became an apprentice roaster. He then became the head roaster at Storyville Coffee in Seattle. Meanwhile, his brother Rick, whose background is in sales and marketing in the resort industry, obtained a job with a real estate firm in Sandpoint. In 2007, the brothers, both ski fanatics, decided to relocate together to Sandpoint to raise their young families. Randy accepted a job in Sandpoint with a coffee roaster equipment manufacturer, selling the machines he had used for years, but he lost his job in the first 90 days.
Randy and Rick then spent time skiing at Schweitzer Mountain and brainstorming how Randy could remain in Sandpoint and in the coffee business. Rick encouraged Randy to start his own roasting company, though they had no money and no idea how to begin. Together the brothers wrote a business plan, borrowed a down payment, and then obtained a loan – Randy’s dream became a reality. It took only a short time for Rick to realize how great the coffee business is, so he left real estate and joined his brother.
The brothers received help from Mike Wells, a counselor at the Idaho SBDC in Post Falls, with whom they met regularly as they developed their business idea. The brothers learned to take a realistic appraisal of themselves and their abilities. One of their first activities was hiring a bookkeeper, knowing they wouldn’t take the time to manage finances appropriately.
Their coffee roasting business began in September 2009 as Sandpoint Coffee Roasters. They later changed the name to Evans Brothers Coffee. When the business opened, they had no customer accounts. Today they have 40 to 50 wholesale accounts. They are currently focusing their efforts on growing the business in the Coeur d’ Alene area. Their coffee is sold at Pilgrim’s Market and Bella Rose in Coeur d’ Alene, Local Grind Cafe in Hayden, and the Caruso’s Sandwich Co. shops. They roast from 500 to 800 pounds of beans per week with a goal to be roasting 1,000 pounds per week by 2012.
The brothers work to educate customers on the stories behind their coffees and the differences among regions and farms. They hosted a “Coffee Aroma Challenge,” an event demonstrating the difference between dry and wet processed Brazilian coffees, African coffees, and more. They have also hosted a “Meet the Farmer” event with brothers Miguel and Guillermo Menendez, whose family owns a coffee farm in El Salvador and with whom Evans Brothers has established a direct trade relationship.
The greatest business challenge the brothers face today is the continuing rise in coffee prices on the commodities market. The price for raw coffee has increased 40 percent in the last two years and experts forecast continued price increases. This is due to many factors, including global climate changes leading to lower supply and increased worldwide demand. The brothers are confident, however, that they can maintain the momentum their business enjoys, despite the economy, primarily because of their sound business planning.
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