It’s just about the middle of June and I think spring has finally arrived here to Cook County. Summer may even feel like summer by the time summer solstice hits, too!
As we are approaching summer, we’re reaching a milestone for Fika Coffee: 7 years with the roaster and 3 years with the cafe. So today, I would like to take a moment to send a big thank you and to reflect on the journey that brought us here.
Wrapping my head around the past three years since the cafe has open is something I can do, but seven years with the roaster? That’s a big one for me! It makes me feel old. Our third born, Leif, was almost one year old when we got the roaster, and he is now 8 years old! Or, maybe the reason I have a hard time thinking about and understanding the seven year mark is because it forces me to face the fear that I might not have grown this business as quickly as I wanted to. Regardless, gone are the days of our Roaster to Door service where my son Leif, daughter Sophia and I would load up the car with coffee to drive around the county as we swapped out coffee canisters.
Through the years, the primary goals of Fika have been to create year round sustainable work, to carve out a life for my family and create additional jobs in the county. As you’ve heard me say before those things are not easy here in Cook County because they force us to reach beyond the seasonality of our local tourism economy and ship our coffee down Highway 61 through online and wholesale sales. The great news is that WE. ARE. DOING. IT!
This past year has been proof that we’re starting to reach our goals. Back on December 27, 2017 we hired our first year-round, full-time employee, Colin Treiber, who moved back to Minnesota with his wife Leticia. Colin has been here for a year and a half now. We also have six other wonderful staff members (Maria, Leticia, Sarah Jane, Peter, Alex, and Malin) who have been or will be working part time throughout the year, especially during the summer months.
Also, this past school year, my wife Stephanie took a year leave from being one of the best kindergarten teachers to spend some more time at home. That meant my sole income from Fika supported the Lindstrom family through this past school year. Those two accomplishments are huge for me.
So how have the last three years gone by since the cafe has opened up? We have seen incredible growth. It is common for a new business to grow the first few years, but I still find it incredibly encouraging and don’t take it for granted. For the last three years (June 2016 to June 2019) we have seen sales increase 30% in the cafe, 33% online, and 23% in wholesale orders each year.
In addition to being able to support my family and hire others, your support of our business has allowed for some positive lifestyle changes. Often times, Cook County business owners and their employees don’t have the opportunity to take time off in the summer months. Because of staffing shortages, people can get pretty burnt out and miss out on opportunities to enjoy time with their loved ones. However, we have made it a priority for my family and our employees to take some time off throughout the year to do the things we love.
This past week our family took a little road trip. It found us spending a day at the U of M Arboretum (a big thank you to John Bryant, a friend of Fika and president of the Arboretum board, who allowed us in) and visiting a new wholesale account, Nektar, in Iowa (if you find yourself in or around Okoboji, Iowa, do yourself a favor and check out what Karina and Alexi are doing - you will find a cute little camper that puts out some amazing smoothie, toast and coffee). Then we drove back into Minnesota to bike and explore the southeast corner of our state. While camping near Lanesboro we biked along the Root River, visited a Pizza Farm called Dream Acres in Wykoff, Minnesota (we highly recommended it), had campfires, and just relaxed. It was wonderful to leave our responsibilities at home for a few days.
Just to be clear, camping with a two year old and young kids is more work than not. I just don’t want you to have the wrong picture in your head.
So, a big shout out to Colin and the crew at Fika for holding down the fort while we were out. And, a big shout out to you for your continued support as our dreams come to fruition (even if they aren’t always on the linear path we set out to take). Without you, Fika wouldn’t be here. Because after all, you are Fika.
- Tags: coffee on the go, Dreams and Goals, FIKA, Lindstroms, Local, roasting coffee, support local, Vacation