Stone Creek Coffee
Industry: Coffee roasting, eight cafes around metro Milwaukee, wholesale coffee sales
Eric Resch, the founder of Milwaukee-based Stone Creek Coffee, started the company in 1993 to not just make money, but to make a difference in his community and the communities in which it does business. The company has won numerous awards for not only its growth and success, but also its involvement in nonprofits and charitable programs. One reason for his company’s success in attracting young, talented employees and developing them into leaders, has been the company’s values – the Stone Creek Seven, Resch says.
“I started Stone Creek 16 years ago with the belief that a company could do more than make a profit. Every employee who comes to work at Stone Creek shares this belief. We believe that our work can positively impact others and make our community better, a set of values called the Stone Creek Seven. These values guide how we treat each other, our customers and all those who interact with us.
“One of our values is: ‘We strive to respect our co-workers, our customers and our communities.’ Each year through our community coffee programs, we donate coffee, money and guidance to hundreds of nonprofits in metro Milwaukee. We do this to give back to our communities. We do this because we believe we are part of something bigger.
“Another one of our values states, ‘We are accountable for our actions and to each other.’ Last year we received a phone call from one of our coffee farms in Brazil where we buy some of our socially responsible coffees. The owner was calling to ask if we could pay $5,000 more for the coffee we agreed to buy the previous year. At the time, our negotiated agreement was to pay a fair wage to the harvesters and support the new school on the farm, but the exchange rate had moved and the farmer now would have less money to pay his employees. After talking to my management team, we paid the extra money because their success is tied to our success.
“Another of our values says, ‘We expect to have fun while making a profit.’ During the past holiday season (one of our busiest times) I brought my waffle iron, maple syrup, fresh whipped cream and strawberries, and spent the morning making waffles for my employees instead of reviewing financials and creating the 2010 budget. Who doesn’t have fun eating waffles, especially ones made by your boss?
“I start each day sipping my cup of Stone Creek thinking how proud I am of my employees, our customers and everyone who has helped make Stone Creek more than another coffee company.
“PS: On the day I spent making waffles last December, I worked well into the evening on our 2010 budgets. I had waffles for dinner.”