This January, out of the blue, I received an email from Ed Weihenmayer, proud father of adventurer, mountaineer, and general badass Erik Weihenmayer. Ed wanted to share with me, and with the Summit Coffee team, that his favorite shirt had taken its last trip through the washing machine.
This shirt was simple. Long sleeve and white cotton, it had the Summit logo on the front and a quote on the back. The quote, from Erik, was about summits.
A Summit isn’t just a place on a mountain. A Summit exists in our hearts and minds. A Summit is a symbol that with the force of our will, we can transform our lives into whatever we choose them to be.
For those unfamiliar with Erik, he’s the first blind person to reach the top of Mt. Everest, as well as the first, and only, to achieve all Seven Summits (the top peak on all seven continents). Just as inspiring, Erik manages to tackle each day with the same veracity and enthusiasm with which he greeted Everest.
I’m often asked why “Summit Coffee,” and who in the company is a rock climber. Both are very valid questions. The truth is, I didn’t create Summit Coffee — the name, the business, the brand, the concept of opening a coffee business in Davidson, North Carolina. When Summit Coffee opened in September 1998, I was 13 years old and an eighth grader in Cleveland, Ohio.
I’ve owned Summit, first as a part owner and, for the past year, as the majority owner, since 2012. It’s taken me some time to really “own” the brand of Summit, what it stands for and why we call ourselves Summit Coffee. But Ed’s email, and Erik’s quote, were a lightbulb moment of sorts. It provided me with words far wiser than mine to identify what a “summit” is. And from that was born our new marketing slogan, “Find Your Summit.” My summit is different from yours, and those are likely both different from what they were two weeks ago. But whatever your adventure is, whatever your summit is, we want to be your partner in helping you explore.
All of our brand language stems from the word Summit. And I want to share that, with our staff and our customers and random people who may stumble upon this post. I think Find Your Summit is catchy, to be sure, but I also think it represents what Summit Coffee stands for.
We want people, literally, to find us. Find our stores, find our coffee in other stores, find us online.
We want to be your partner in daily life. If you’re driving on the highway to kick ass at work, we want to be on the car ride and at your desk. If you’re hiking a mountain, brew our coffee before you start and when you’re on top.
When you need community, please come Find Your Summit. Lift up your head, put down the phone and open your eyes.
Thanks to Ed’s email, we finally have a quote and a thought to describe what it means to Find Your Summit. It’s not literally about climbing mountains every day. It’s about the figurative mountain and all that entails: the decision to start, the planning, the getting lost, the adventure, the challenges, the ascents and descents, the need for partnership and the need to go alone.
I’m on a plane to Guatemala, I have 4% battery left on my MacBook Air, and I need to press publish. I’ve been trying to put into words what “Find Your Summit” means. Thanks Erik for the tip.