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By Bob Fish

I walk nearly every day, winding up and down tall sandy dunes and wandering through woods full of Hemlock, Beech, and Oak. I constantly have long and short views of the Kalamazoo River and our Great Lake Michigan.

My home is in Douglas, a town adjacent to the resort town of Saugatuck, MI. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. I walk up to eight miles a day, and while I’m out there, my mind finds clarity and focus.

saugatuck michigan

Not right away. In the first couple of miles my mind is filled with a script that has to do with the short term, and frankly it can be kind of negative. But by the middle of my walk, that script begins to gradually float away. In its place come disparate thoughts, ideas, and lists that I have been wrestling with, trying to find order and harmony. The last miles are always the best, overwhelmingly influenced by the sights and sounds of water, land, grasses, woods, animals, and birds, all of which we call nature. Complex, intertwined, yet mutually co-existing in balance.

This is where it can come together, in a flash, fitting seamlessly as a solution. A convergence.

The view from the Crow’s Nest, one of my favorite trails in my hometown.

This is the list of thoughts and ideas that I have been disparately carrying around for about a year:

  1. Our consumer base is in a slow process of shifting from Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers to Millennials and I-generation.
  2. Millennials and I-generation want to know the provenance of what they are buying and that it is ethical and true.
  3. By true, I mean they want the full story, and it had better be real. They will find out otherwise.
  4. By ethical I mean that it cannot come with a hidden cost. They do not mind if investors make money, but it cannot come at the cost of the environment, or society, or suppliers, or customers, or employees. They will fully support a win-win-win, with no tradeoffs.
  5. Millennials and I-generation understand there is a premium to pay for win-win-win relationships.
  6. Millennials and I-generation will rampantly support you if there is a purpose beyond profit.
  7. Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are willingly shifting too, being led by the ideological standards of their children the Millennials and the I-generation.
  8. Our workforce is primarily made up of Millennials and I-generation. Don’t they have the same expectations?
  9. Coffee is our primary product and we have been completely disconnected from where, how, and by whom it is produced.
  10. Wouldn’t it be powerful to know the name and family of every farmer that produces our coffee?
  11. What if the people that produced our coffee shared the same values as we do, balancing People, Planet, and Profits?
  12. What if ‘Supporting you in Building a Life you Love’ transcended the retail ecosystem into the supply ecosystem?

On this day my convergence was this:

In order for BIGGBY COFFEE to successfully and earnestly transition itself to the next generation, we need to have 100% of our coffee sourced directly from coffee farmers that we know personally, have a loving and caring relationship with, who prosper, and share our values.

Farm-Direct is the solution.

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