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February 2003 - Steve Aronson
I’m a firm believer that your mistakes are your best learning opportunities. Our Wal-Mart experience is one of those.
Café Britt started in 1986 as a company known only to Costa Ricans and Costa Rica residents.
One of our regular customers bought coffee to sell in the restaurants she owned in San José and Manuel Antonio Beach.
fate would have it, she fell in love with a sport fisherman. He whisked
her off to Florida to start a charter fishing business. But what kind
of coffee do you think they served on their boats?
One day one of
her fisherman guests commented that it was the best coffee he’d ever
tasted. He said he worked with Wal-Mart and wanted to know where he
could buy Café Britt.
She called me that same day from the boat.
She told me she was bringing him down for a visit. Within six months we
were in 150 Sam’s Club stores all over the U.S.
We developed a
special 2-pound bag and shipped out entire pallets. We sold well in some
markets, where customers had a taste for gourmet coffee, but not so
well in the more price conscious inner city and rural stores.
proposed selling only to about one-third of Sam’s Club stores. But while
we were haggling, a corporate giant saw the success we were having.
Their 200 man office in Bentonville Arkansas went over the buyers head
to the big bosses and ... "Sorry, but..."
Just like that, we lost 30 percent of our sales.
Ouch! You might say. And we did say that. But the whole Wal-Mart episode made us realize something important.
didn’t create Café Britt for mass markets in which faceless middlemen
make the decisions and consumers take what they’re given.
Britt is a people-to-people company. That’s our strength. We’re the only
"middleman" customers need to get to the final product. That is why we
say "from the plantation to the cup."
With this in mind, we
regrouped. We opened stores at Costa Rica’s International Airport in
2001. We increased our Web presence and stepped up mail-order marketing.
set up a call center at our main office in Costa Rica. Our customers
can call us toll free to order products, ask questions and chat about
Costa Rica. Even more important, we’ve showed our customers that we’re
here for them. We care. We welcome feedback and welcome them at our
plantation roastery when they visit Costa Rica.
that this direct, person-to-person contact defines us as a coffee
company. Café Britt is a special product, and you, our customers, are
This is how we do Holidays in Costa Rica
Turrialba Volcano Erupts!
So what does Shakira have to do with Café Britt?
Chocolate Variety Pack
Dark Chocolate Covered Cranberry
Dark Chocolate Covered Banana
Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Chocolate Chips Mint Cookies
Dark Chocolate Covered Orange
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Mini Espresso Machine
Costa Rican Habitat Blend
Holiday Blend Gift
Dark Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts
Costa Rican Dark Roast
Costa Rican Tarrazu Montecielo
Costa Rican Fusion
Costa Rican Organic
Costa Rican Fair Trade
Costa Rican Breakfast Blend
Costa Rican Poas Tierra Volcanica
Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia
Colombian Organic Sierra Nevada
Peruvian Pachamama Organic
Britt Espresso Classic Capsules
Britt Espresso Decaf Capsules
Britt Espresso Intense Capsules
Britt Espresso Organic Capsules
Britt Espresso Tarrazu Capsules
Costa Rican Medium Roast Guanacaste
Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
Britt Espresso Boquete Espresso Capsules
Coffee Candy Chews
Britt Espresso Antigua Espresso Capsules
Britt Espresso Valle Sagrado Espresso Capsules
Dark Chocolate Covered Macadamia
Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut
White Chocolate Covered Lime
Milk Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
Dark Chocolate Covered Cashew
Dark Chocolate Covered Guava
Costa Rican Espresso
White Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
Dark Chocolate Covered Passion Fruit
Costa Rican Light Roast
Dark Chocolate Covered Pineapple
Peruvian Valle Sagrado
Dark Chocolate with Creamy Coffee Filling
Costa Rican Decaffeinated
Costa Rican Tarrazu 2 Lb
Dark Chocolate with Tropical Fruit Fillings
Costa Rican Dark Roast 2 Lb
Dark Chocolate with Creamy Nut Filling
Dark Chocolate with Creamy Dulce de Leche Filling
Costa Rican Espresso 2 Lb
Costa Rican Decaffeinated 2 Lb
Colombian Dark Roast
Gourmet Mint Hot Cocoa
Colombian Narino Volcanico
Colombian Light Roast
Colombian Pitalito Laboyano
Gourmet Hot Cocoa
Peruvian Dark Roast
4 Cup French Press
Jugando con Mariposas Cup Set
Café Britt Insulated Travel Mug
Cafe Britt Cup Set
Costa Rica From Above
The Coffee Cookbook
Cuisine and Traditions
Tierra Viva Costa Rica Volcanoes Book
Costa Rica Pura Vida Book