How to Grow Your Business in Houston

Ragan and Christi Bond started out roasting coffee in small batches in their garage. “We gifted a lot and drank so much coffee that first year—we were wired!” Ragan says. It wasn’t just caffeine that fueled their entrepreneurial aspirations. The SBA helped Christi and Ragan develop their coffee/retail shop into a large-scale roaster so they could then create jobs and contribute to the local economy. The couple received expert business guidance from their local Small Business Development Center, an SBA Resource Partner. They now count some major regional and national grocers as distributors, such as H-E-B, Whole Foods Market, and Hannaford Brothers Company.

 

• What challenges did you have? We wanted the small-town life so we moved our family from Houston to Brenham, but that didn’t mean we wanted to slow down! We came here to incubate and grow our small business. We needed expert business counselors at a minimal cost since we we’re getting started in a venture new to both of us. Ragan spent 15 years as a commodities trader in the energy sector before this. Christi was working on her first venture, a small coffee shop. After we perfected our coffee roasting process, we were ready to produce on a larger scale.

 

• What was the SBA solution? Small business owners have a great community in Texas because of our fantastic SBA Resource Partners. Our counselor at the Blinn College Small Business Development Center helped us generate financial projections and develop a business plan so we could secure financing. We were also able to qualify for SBA funding programs. The SBA guarantees loans made by lending institutions to a small business that would not otherwise be able to obtain financing. Our small business has secured SBA-backed 7(a) loans from the beginning. This financing provided the credit we needed to build out a production facility, warehouse, and purchase state-of-the-art equipment.

 

• What benefit did this have for you? Our small business is on target to expand nationwide. Last year, our team of 32 full-time employees roasted over 650,000 pounds of Arabica coffee. We’re focusing on grocery, office, retail, and the high-end convenience store sector. We recently launched a coffee and tea market called Black Truck ‘48 to promote our products and create a potential future franchising/licensing platform starting in 2019.

Company Name: 
Independence Coffee Company
Location: 
Brenham, Texas