Stories

Stories

Each week we offer a wide-open, transparent look at what’s happening at Summit Coffee — from the news, to the celebrations, to the failures, and back again.

  • Nov192019

    On Talking About Coffee, Take 2

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    All the way back in August I wrote about how odd it is that the normal way to order a coffee is just that — “Can I have a coffee?” Meanwhile, our siblings in the beer and wine industries benefit from significantly heightened consumer awareness and, as a result, care. I went on to express: “It’s selling short an entire…

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  • Nov142019

    On Healthcare

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    I’ve long admired restauranteur Danny Meyer’s approach to hospitality — he literally wrote the book on it, “Setting the Table.” One of the lessons I most often refer back to is what he calls Enlightened Hospitality, in which the first priority is taking care of the team around you. “We start with caring for each other, then caring for our…

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  • Nov122019

    On The Outpost

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    I remember down to the beers we were drinking how, on a Tuesday in July of 2013, Tim and I decided to open a Summit Coffee on the campus of Davidson College. We were sitting at the (now closed) Davidson Beverage Company, just after lunch, having promised the powers that be at the college that we’d sign our agreement before…

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  • Nov052019

    On Having Fun

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    The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” How to motivate a team of people who work in different cities, come from different backgrounds, and have varying visions for their…

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  • Oct282019

    On Katia Duke

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    Two weeks ago, Donovan and Andrew had the opportunity to visit Finca San Isidro, just outside the small town of Copán Ruinas in southwestern Honduras, nestled between the mountainous border with Guatemala and an impressive Mayan ruins site dating back to the the 5th century. Finca San Isidro is owned and operated by Katia Duke, who graciously hosted, drove, fed,…

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  • Oct212019

    On Franchising

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    I’m not burying the lede: As of January 2020, Summit Coffee will be in the franchising business. We’re going to sell new branches of our cafés to new partners who are as excited as we are to spread the Summit Coffee brand — first in the Southeast, and (in the not too distant future), around the country. Summit has always…

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  • Sep252019

    On 21 Years

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    I don’t know what the founders of Summit Coffee envisioned for their business. I don’t know if they expected Summit to make it to September 2019, to the celebration of 21 years. I don’t know if they ever glanced in the magic eight ball and saw a roasting business, or more cafés, or a kitchen to bake in. But I hope…

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  • Sep162019

    On 8 Years

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    LinkedIn alerted me last week that I am celebrating my “work anniversary,” my 8th year operating Summit Coffee, and I have an affinity for little notices like this because it makes me reflect. And the generic auto responses from my LinkedIn buddies — “Congratulations” or “Wow, 8 years already?” — made me both laugh and pause for a moment. Wherein…

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  • Sep052019

    On Fear

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    It’s 4:44pm on a Thursday, and I am sitting alone at the roastery. The five or six people who were busy here today have done their work, very well, and headed elsewhere. Yet I am still here, sitting, and it’s becoming more often than not that I am the last one sitting in this office with all the lights off…

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  • Aug262019

    On Growing Up

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    This morning I dropped off my daughter, Bay, for her first day of kindergarten and then drove straight to the Outpost for the first day of the Davidson College school year. These two events are in the same sentence because they both — Bay and the Outpost — were born on the same day, November 14, 2013. While I won’t…

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