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Henry’s Coffee Company

Henry’s Coffee Company

There is something innately comforting about a hot cup of coffee. There is something even more comforting in knowing such care, love and thought were involved in the process of making it. A cup of Henry’s Coffee is a guarantee of just that.

Sitting down with Chamber Members Brian McGregor and Keith Docherty, there is no denying the passion they share for coffee, care and customer satisfaction.

At Henry’s Coffee Company, ‘Henry’ is no business tycoon. Henry is a 9-year-old boy – owner, Brian’s grandson, and “apple of his eye”. Although it’s Keith, Brian and Jill who are the driving force behind the business, Henry often asks Brian – “So, tell me Papa, how is my business doing”?

Brian and Keith will answer that question with care. Henry – we hope this report answers your question efficiently for you!

Hear from them on their journey, inspiration, and chamber involvement, while looking toward what’s to come.

Can you tell us about your business and what products/services you offer?

(Brian) Henry’s Coffee Company supplies coffee and tea to the hospitality sector across Scotland. Our customers are typically independent cafes, coffee shops or visitor attractions.

When we talk about Henry’s Coffee Company, we talk about a one-stop shop for coffee shops, where you can buy everything, you need to serve what we call – great tasting coffee.

 

Brian- why coffee? What interested you about it 30 years ago and what keeps you interested in it now? 

(Brian) I wasn’t interested in coffee when I started my career in the coffee industry! It was purely good fortune. I applied for a job as a divisional sales manager with a Glasgow-based coffee company but the attraction to the job was the job description rather than the actual product I was required to sell.

It’s been a wonderful industry to work in. I can’t think of another food group that has grown and grown and grown and continues to change and become even more popular with the consumer. I challenge anyone to think of another product group that has done so well!

 

How did Henry’s Coffee Company begin?

(Brian) Well, often when we talk about Henry’s Coffee Company, people wonder why it’s not Brian’s Coffee Company (you know, my name is Brian, not Henry). I’d worked in the coffee industry for 25 years and I’d always harboured an ambition to have my own family-owned coffee business, but I’d never been brave enough to take the leap into the unknown.

Then, a life-changing event happened, and my grandson Henry was born, my first and only grandchild so far. That was a real game changer in my life, and I thought if I was ever going to do this, now was the time to do it.

 

What were the first two months of your business like? Did you learn anything in this initial period? 

(Brian) Nerve-wracking – I’d made the plunge, I’d left my job, I was desperate for an income and while we started in July it took until September to write our first invoice.  So, it was definitely a nerve-wracking time, but I did use it constructively to map out the plans for the business.

That first sale felt amazing! I cried – I was so utterly delighted.

Brian and Keith – How did you both meet?

(Keith)We met through networking in Stirling! We were both on the path of a new business and on a journey to get more customers and we started partnering on events.

My background was in hotels, restaurants and bars, so I would keenly promote Henry’s Coffee Company. I’d tell Brian my recommendations of which cafés and coffee shops to approach for new business. I wanted to help and support Henry’s and because of the industry I came from, I knew it was great-tasting coffee. I also knew Brian provided such a personal service.

(Brian) I should return the compliment- Keith’s other business is selling utilities to domestic environments and whilst Keith was an ambassador for my business, I was an ambassador for Utility Warehouse

We’ve had a nice, friendly working partnership for a long number of years.

(Keith) I came into the business just over a year ago as we started to plan towards greater growth and the future.

 

What is it like working with a family member?

(Brian) Whenever I talk about family and business, I say it’s challenging and rewarding in equal measure!

Jill is great for the business. She gets on so well with our customers! She is very friendly and personable which is very comforting. Jill loves social media – she graduated in ‘fine art’ from Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee University, so she is a little artistic in her approach to things, which helps for our social media.

How do you stand out at Henry’s Coffee Company and why is this important? 

(Brian) That is core to our success. That is the biggest message that we can offer in terms of winning customers. We help our customers stand out from the crowd. We know our customers operating in hospitality are in a fiercely competitive marketplace. You can imagine the number of coffee shops in any town all fighting for the same coffee consumer and so, recognising the extent of their challenge, we help them to be different in their own right and as a result- sell more coffee.

We do that in lots of different ways. One of these is our bean box, which is a zero-packaging waste approach to coffee beans. We deliver the coffee beans in a refillable tub; we collect the empty tub, and we replace it with a full tub. So, no coffee bags are going into landfills. This allows our customers to boast about their eco-friendly credentials when it comes to their coffee service, helping them stand out from the crowd.

We also offer our customers the opportunity to have their own coffee brand on their coffee offering. We rely on a graphic designer to create a brand that is bespoke to the customer’s image.

Our ability to do so [helping our customers stand out from the crowd] has contributed greatly to our success as a family-owned business.

 

Can you share some significant milestones or achievements your business has accomplished?

 (Brian) Winning the Smiddy’s business. They are a family-owned business near Blair Drummond, and there was a significant competition to win their coffee business.

Writing our 10,000th invoice was another great milestone!

We are really looking forward to our 10th birthday next year.

Bringing Keith on board! Having a general manager in place has made a huge difference to how we can progress our business. Our rate of growth has been significant since Keith joined our business.

 

 

What made you want to join Forth Valley Chamber?

(Keith) We previously mentioned how we connected through networking – well, the networking we were doing was the foundation of what is now the Hub Club. We got together with President and Chief Exec Lynn Harris to discuss how we could take a structured event forward at Stirling University Innovation Park.

We came together with the Chamber because Lynn and some members came along to our sessions and loved what we were doing. It became friends doing business with friends.

(Brian) Henry’s Coffee Company then joined the chamber because I was sitting in the Hub Club as a non-member of the chamber, embodying so much of what the chamber is and I thought I must join because I was enjoying the networking activity so much!

(Keith) The Chamber has played a pivotal part in our coming together and allowing us to reach so many others too in the Forth Valley Area.

 

How has being a member of the chamber benefitted your business?

(Keith) One example – during a networking event, we met with another member, who just by chance was in a position to look at coffee offerings from ourselves. This led to a bigger discussion which resulted in not just one venue using Henry’s Coffee Company but just shy of 30.

So, we have been very grateful for that one event that led to us being the supplier of choice for the Signature Group which takes us all over Scotland.

(Brian) We are delighted to be spotlighted but we are keen as well to point out how much we appreciate the Chamber of Commerce and their support for our business. It has been without a doubt, extremely beneficial for us.

(Keith) I think one of the great things about being a part of the chamber is that as a result of our networking we have hundreds of ambassadors for Henry’s Coffee Company.

 

Apart from your cup of Henry’s coffee, what brings you a moment of delight during the day?

(Keith) Despite that cup of coffee which I do need every day- the moment of delight is interacting with our customers. We thrive on that interaction; visiting them, doing our deliveries, asking how we can help them, and making sure they are being looked after. That personal touch is what makes us stand out from the crowd. But that moment of delight is also when they phone back and thank you for the time you’ve spent looking after them and nurturing them.

What inspiration do you get from your grandson Henry?

 (Brian) All the inspiration is from Henry. He is the apple of my eye.

The best day I ever spent working for Henry’s Coffee Company was when I went to Henry’s primary school for a work experience day. Henry came up with Papa to talk to the class about the Coffee Company. To see Henry, holding up coffee beans and showing off the filter coffee to his classmates was great fun.

 

What can we all do to be a little bit more like Henry?

(Brian) Be full of promise.

 

What is a project you are working on right now?

 (Keith) One of the biggest projects that we are working on is taking our products online and delivering them to a domestic market. We have grown and grown, helping the trade and helping people directly serve great-tasting coffee. We are now in the process of driving Henry’s at home so that people can enjoy our great-tasting coffee at home.

 

What is the secret to a great cup of coffee?

(Keith) Ensuring you have the right selection of blends (from Henry’s Coffee Company of course!) We have already done the work to make sure you get that bespoke taste.

(Brian) Our ambition for our coffee is for first-time triers to take a sip and immediately think wow- that’s a great-tasting coffee!

 

If you live in the Forth Valley area, chances are you have already tasted a cup of their wonderful coffee. If you haven’t had the pleasure, I urge you to bask in the simple delight.

Find out more here: Henry’s Coffee Company (henryscoffeecompany.com)

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