In 1774 when American patriots stopped drinking English tea in order to stop funding the British Army, the concept of shopping local began. American patriots realized that their purchase of tea sent money and profits back to England where it could be used in the war against them. An entire tea-drinking culture stopped drinking tea and began drinking coffee instead.
In early 2003, when the United States attacked the country of Iraq, we wanted to do something to help. We felt that if we sent some of our coffee to our troops that we would be supporting them in a small but measurable way.
Less than a year later, the first of over 30 Starbucks moved into my small town. Soon after that, I heard a rumor that a local Starbucks Manager boasted to someone else that Mitch’s Java ‘n Jazz would be out of business within one year. It was then that I knew this competition was a little different than the competition I faced on a basketball court. This indeed was a lot more serious. I learned a very good lesson about the war between large corporations and small family-owned businesses… and why it is good for America when the little guy fights back!
Unbeknownst to me, the battle had just begun with the largest competitor I could ever imagine. A competitor who was doubling in size every few years, on the way to becoming one of the most recognized brands in the world. I had inadvertently and unknowingly declared war on the king of coffee. A daunting task!