We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Crane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Prior to starting The Coffee Ride, I had been always been searching for my place. Growing up with a father who had a small business, I saw the hard work and sacrifices that he had to make in order to be successful. Honestly, all I had wanted after seeing his struggles was a secure career, but after multiple positions in pretty much every industry possible; I ended up going for it myself. Starting The Coffee Ride was the first thing in my life that ticked all the boxes and seemed to make sense in my brain. I saw the potential to have an enormous amount of responsibility (you’re the only one who can let you down), build a system from the ground up that provided a winning scenario from farmer to end consumer, self fulfillment, the ability to help others and provide a good/service that folks truly loved and needed. The list is even longer and continues to grow as the business grows and changes.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Coffee Ride is a coffee roasting company that specializes in roasting only ethically sourced/highest grade coffee, delivers locally around the city of Boulder, Niwot, and Gunbarrel by bicycle, and delivers that same great hand crafted coffee and outdoor experience anywhere in the nation. The biggest thing that sets us apart from other roasters is focusing on the little things. I began with our Thursday coffee delivery around 6 years ago and have personally ridden over 15k miles just on that delivery day alone. This is an example of how we do business and proof that small things can add up to make big differences. We take pride in all the coffee we source to make sure it’s up to our high level of standards. We also think about how our service/products will affect the environment from coffee farmer to end consumer. We are constantly evolving and tweaking our roasting techniques to stay on top of/ ahead of the coffee industry trends so we are able to provide our customers with the best products possible from a company that they can believe in. There have been lots of challenges to overcome. The coffee business is a real grind. It’s extremely competitive and a ton of hard work. So to answer your question, no, it wasn’t easy. I personally made a lot of mistakes over the years. I also believe that mistakes aren’t bad unless they are repeated. Each mistake is potential for improvement. As long as you are constantly striving for perfection, that’s all that matters. Perfect doesn’t exist, but putting in the work and trying to achieve perfection does. The lesson I have learned is don’t give up. If you truly believe in your heart that what you’re doing is meant to be, grind and figure out how to make it happen. I still question myself daily on what the heck I’m doing. Set the emotions aside and figure out what it is that you need to do to be successful in your mind. We had a hard time breaking into local coffee shops, but saw a need for wholesale coffee for businesses between 1-8 employees. They were too small for most roasters to service, but these businesses were going through too much coffee to be just buying 12oz bags at the grocery store. Find your niche and just keep building. Our goal here at The Coffee Ride is more than just to roast great coffee and deliver locally by bicycle. Our goal is to give back and prove that you can be a successful business while helping others and the environment at the same time. We aim to give our customers the opportunity to escape from the daily rigors of life by providing an amazing cup of coffee that reminds them of their favorite life moments. From the simplicity of taking the time to make a great cup of coffee, the nostalgia of our bicycle delivery, or that camping trip you took with your family. All life’s favorite moments can be revisited with every sip of our coffee because every great day starts with a proper brew.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough one with Covid. Everything has changed, but Boulder is still a great town with lots to do. The morning would probably start with coffee at our roastery quickly followed by heading over to Shamanes Bakery for one of their awesome breakfast sandwiches. If they ride bikes I would show them all the fun local rides. All the fun local climbs, dirt roads out in longmont and the crushed gravel paths out by Erie and Louisville. We’d have to make a stop at Babettes in Longmont too for some amazing pastries. If no bikes, the hike up to south boulder peak would be on the agenda at some point. Tacos at Tiaco. Pizza at Audrey Jane’s pizza garage. Beers out back at Sanitas Brewery. Dinner at Sherpas. Drinks next door at Bitter Bar. More bikes, hikes, cross country skiing, and fly fishing. A must would also have to include dinner, drinks and music up at the Gold Hill in. Probably my favorite spot in Boulder.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Great question! It’s far too often that you hear business owners claiming that they did it all themselves. Yes, it’s hard work, but there are so many people along the way that help and influence your success. First, my grandfather Jerry was a milkman in the 1950’s. I’ve always been nostalgic for a more simple time where you knew who made and delivered your products. Him being a milk delivery driver was a major influence on our local bicycle delivery method. We wanted to bring back that feeling of excitement and anticipation for that high quality product being dropped at your doorstep, so that’s a big reason we do our bicycle delivery. Secondly, my Dad was a big influence as well. He worked a lot when I was growing up since he too started his own buisness, but even just the casual business conversation during dinner and starting working for him when I was in 5th grade was a huge advantage. For most people starting a business is something that they see as unachievable. Just seeing first hand that it was something that was possible was a huge confidence builder. Both my sister and I are both entrepreneurs. Lastly, there are hundreds of people who have helped along the way. Folks that let us use their garage when we were just getting started, friends and family that helped move our roaster into our first facility, friends and family that have helped package and deliver coffee when we couldn’t do it alone, the people who gave me part time jobs and allowed for a flexible schedule while things were getting started, people that we networked with and have given me insight on how to grow the business, and of course all the people who have and will buy coffee from us. So many people that all deserve credit.
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