Coffee Talk Magazine featured an article about Alton McEwen, owner of what we know of as Second Cup in its ‘modern form’.
It’s important to read business biographies like these to gain a deeper insight and respect for brands or independent businesses we see on a daily basis. One does not have to like or participate in the brand to appreciate the history and work that has gone into a well known enterprise.
In this article, there is a story of how Alton McEwen took 129 franchisees to the source of the coffee beans to help them understand the passion he shares for a cup of coffee. This is truly a great story and perhaps part of why Second Cup has stood the test of time. The old cliche “They won’t care what you know until you know that you care [or however that one goes]” is played out perfectly with this example.
Another highlight was how McEwen left the company and came back on more than one occasion. This story seems almost like a rite of passage in the coffee industry when we think of the famous story of Howard Shultz coming back to Starbucks.
A final highlight from the article is how McEwen welcomes the rise of coffee prices. Although it’s tough to bear to see any commodity jump in price, coffee is a complicated plant and process and must remain sustainable. Cheap coffee on the back of slaves is doomed to failure. It’s far better to suck up the increases now than risk losing coffee forever.