When I heard that Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee would be opening their own coffee shop this fall, my first reaction was not overly enthusiastic. Apart from a select few, coffee shops are not known to be hugely profitable, and I feared this new venture would pull resources from one of my favorite local companies and drag it down. Peace Coffee has been growing its fair trade, organic, bike-delivered, coffee bean business for years. Why risk all that the company has worked for rather than simply add new accounts and products to their already successful model? When I got the chance to speak with Lee Wallace, Peace Coffee's CEO ("Queen Bean" on her business cards), it all made sense.
"The new coffee shop allows us to prepare our coffee the way we envision it when it comes out of the roaster," Lee tells me, "most roasters know roasting but not about being a barista, and most baristas don't know much about roasting."