A Caffeine-Driven Moon Shot
A Caffeine-Driven Moon Shot
There's something brewing in Lafayette, Ind. and it smells like good coffee. You know that smell, right? Well, in Lafayette it wafts from the Copper Moon Coffee Roastery and four Copper Moon Coffee Cafes. It also smells a lot like success, laced with hard work and smart marketing decisions.
“My brother and I had sold a business and we were looking for a coffee business to acquire,” said Brad Gutwein about the decision he and his brother Cary made in 2007 when they purchased Copper Moon Coffee. “We both love coffee and we felt like we could understand the category fairly well.”
When the Gutweins purchased Copper Moon, they decided to keep the name, but they changed just about everything else.
“Basically, we did a refocusing of the Copper Moon brand at that time,” said Gutwein. “We created it to be more of a consumer products company. It was originally more of a food service-oriented coffee company. And once we did that we began selling to retailers across the country. Our first major account that we went after was Sam's Club. We established a good relationship with them right out of the gate and we were off to the races from there.”
The business was located in Indianapolis when the Gutweins first purchased it, but they have since moved everything to the Lafayette area. The 100,000 square-foot roastery, where they not only roast their coffee, but also do all their product packaging and shipping, employs about 125 people. Another 50 people work in the four cafes where they sell coffee drinks and Copper Moon Coffee products.
“Brad and Cary are very studied and they're always a step ahead of everybody,” said Brent Mithoefer, City President of 1st Source Bank in Lafayette. “They're ideal clients who joined us when they were first starting. They've grown their business over the years and have become very successful.”
Copper Moon Coffee is not just tasting success, they're gulping it. It's literally a caffeine driven success story. Gutwein says it has grown every year since they started. He didn't want to get too specific about financials, but he said their sales figures for 2020 were much higher than the previous year The Covid-19 pandemic hurt their café business for a short period of time, but it was like a shot of expresso for their online business and consumer coffee sales. A lot of people were at home, drinking and ordering coffee. Gutwein says they were also in a great position to take advantage of the situation.
“One of the most important things to growing a business is to not only have a great product and great people, not only to have great customers, but to have a great banking relationship,” said Gutwein.
“We've had the flexibility with 1st Source that when we've had growth and needed to have a larger line of credit, or when we've needed another term loan or a building expansion or equipment purchases, 1st Source has been there to support us.”
Gutwein believes Copper Moon is a great name for a coffee brand, which is why they kept it when they purchased the business. He says the name has created marketing opportunities that build on the moon theme and current excitement about space exploration. Their main slogan is “reach for the moon” and it seems like that's what they are doing with their coffee business. It has taken off and is headed to higher grounds.