THE #BEMORE PODCAST SERIES: RICHBARN ROASTERS
In the business world, challenge = opportunity.
Time and time again, adversity has catalyzed the growth of successful businesses, which spring through the gaps that uncertainty presents in the marketplace like flowers from between the cracks on the sidewalk. Some of today's most-recognizable companies—Uber, Venmo, and Groupon, to name a few—got their starts during recessions.
We have always been fascinated by the motivation behind these businesses. How did they rise while others fell? How did a simple gap in the market become a premise on which to build a business? Most importantly, how do these companies articulate what it means to #BeMore?
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Addams and Mitch Young from Richbarn Roasters, a local coffee company in Pittsburgh, to discuss how their company is aiming to #BeMore during these uncertain times. Watch the full interview here.
BUILT ON INTENTION
Although Richbarn began as a side project in 2019, its mission to bring people together with intention has become the driving force behind the company's recent growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by Howard Schultz’s “third place” movement in the 1970s, Addams and Young have built Richbarn with the intention of melding our “third places” into our “first places.”
To Addams and Young, coffee embodies more than a morning beverage. It’s not just what wakes people up—it’s what brings people together. Consider the phase “getting coffee.” It implies a sense of community and belonging: a moment that facilitates human connections. As such, Addams and Young believe that something intentional is lost in the act of popping a pod into a machine to brew a takeaway cup. That “moment of being able to sit down and steal away for a second” that is what brings people together.
This intention has shaped all aspects of Richbarn, from their mission to how they roast their beans. Coffee is the conduit to connection, and as businesses began to shift towards remote work and social distancing grew in popularity, Richbarn realized that the time was now.
ENERGY AND AUTHENTICITY
Seeing their community and their friends impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic spurred Richbarn’s desire to bring hope and positivity to as many people as they could. With the unprecedented difficulties brought on by the pandemic, they decided that for every bag of coffee purchased, Richbarn would donate and deliver an additional bag (free of charge) to someone in the greater Pittsburgh area who had lost their job due to unforeseen circumstances.
Virtually overnight, their “side hustle” morphed into a full-blown operation, and they began roasting beans from sunup to sundown, thinking they’d only get a couple of orders. But coffee, of course, is the facilitator of “the moment,” and their mission resonated not just with many people here in Pittsburgh, but with people all over the country.
With orders coming in from DC, from Texas, from California—Addams and Young soon realized the power of positive energy and authenticity.
“All of us know somebody who has been impacted by COVID-19, and it weighs on us because we want to help them, but we feel very helpless in our ability to do so,” said Young. “It was astounding to see how many people reached out, placed orders, and said ‘Here are people that I’d like to donate a bag to.’”
Richbarn’s thoughtful gesture has sparked a movement—a transference of positive energy that brings our community together even in a time when physically gathering is impossible.
“Independent of the quality of coffee,” said Young. “It's the ability for somebody to step up and help somebody. These micro acts of giving can create a macro movement of generosity and hope.”
We want to challenge you to think big for your businesses, so each month, we’ll be interviewing a local company that embodies what it means to #BeMore. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company can #BeMore, please reach out to us via our contact page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.