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Winter 2010 A Booming Brewing Business

An online coffee company—Javerde—is enjoying strong sales at its first kiosk location. They’re changing coffee buying habits by pulling customers out of grocery stores and sending them to the mall.

The next time you visit a mall, you could make a regular stop to pick up your coffee beans—and help plant a tree. At least, that’s what Knoxville, TN-based coffee company Javerde is hoping
its mall kiosk at the local West Town Mall will encourage shoppers to do.

Online to kiosk

Four friends, who are also coffee connoisseurs, launched Javerde in 2008 as an online-only business. Although Javerde began online, the company’s strategy necessitated the move to a mall, says Dan Grady, chief executive officer. “We needed a way to start to develop more revenue,” says Grady. “Eventually, we want this to grow into a coffee shop concept.”

At the kiosk, customers can buy coffee by the bag, either whole bean or ground, and sample one of seven coffees on sale that day.

A bag of 12 oz. coffee costs $9 to $10, and Grady says that once the customer tastes the coffee at the kiosk, it’s an easy sell. “Our quality is the difference,” says Grady. He adds that the beans are imported from all over the world, and roasted in small batches to give the coffee its unique flavor. The blends and flavors are churned out by Kendall, the master roaster. The Javerde kiosk sells 13 different blends of coffee and 16 varieties from around the world. Varieties include Hawaiian, Indonesian, Costa Rican, Yemeni and, the traditional favorite, Colombian.

The flavored coffee is where the roaster lets his imagination run wild, says Grady. There are 21 flavors to sample including Dreamsipple, an orange and vanilla cream-flavored coffee, and Munky Chow, a banana crème-flavored one.

Strong sales

The mall kiosk opened in August and has beaten the company’s sales expectations, says Grady, who started the business along with brother Paul, and friends Jeremy Kendall and Bryan Myers. “Our sales are 30 percent over what we thought they would be,” says Grady.

Grady observes that sales are increasing as people become more familiar with their coffee. “We’re seeing that these people are just spending their coffee money with us,” says Grady. They still go to the grocery store but they get their coffee at the mall.

The economy hasn’t hit the kiosk too hard, says Grady. With the economy now showing signs of a rebound, sales can only go up, and that is encouraging, he says.

Personal interaction at the mall makes the Javerde kiosk a better idea at the mall than at a grocery store, says Lauren Abernethy McNulty, area director of marketing and business development at West Town Mall. By chatting with customers about coffee blends and flavors, the Javerde staff help customers better understand the various kinds of coffees available.

“Any given day you’ll see folks at the Javerde cart sharing their passion and enthusiasm with shoppers,” McNulty says. “The ability to interact one on one with potential shoppers is crucial for most new businesses, and it’s something that a mall does very well.”

Green practices

Javerde is committed to sustainability and donates five percent of its revenue to the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on increasing tree cover in the United States. The business also uses machinery that consumes less energy. Going completely green has been a challenge because the process is either too expensive or very time-consuming, says Grady adding that the business had made a “sincere, honest effort” toward sustainability and will continue to do so.

Future business plans include expansion to more mall kiosk locations and moving toward the coffee shop idea.

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Meera Rajagopalan

Meera Rajagopalan is a freelance writer who writes for publications in India and the U.S. She has extensive experience reporting on niche businesses and can be reached at

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