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- 2017 - February - 6th -

Bold Bean taking ‘big step’ of establishing Southside headquarters a decade after launch

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

A week from now, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters intends to be grounded.

The 10-year-old Jacksonville-based wholesale and retail coffee company will move into its first home office space.

“It’s going to be a big step for us to have a headquarters,” said Managing Partner Zack Burnett.

Until now, the roastery and bakery have been operating at 1179 Edgewood Ave. S. in Murray Hill with Burnett grabbing space for office tasks when convenient.

“I work out of my briefcase wherever I can find a table,” he said.

Bold Bean, with three coffee shops around town, will consolidate its offices, roastery, bakery, training lab, storage and packaging areas and other functions in Center Point Business Park off Philips Highway.

Burnett said the move will boost productivity, allowing staff to work together face-to-face rather than by text or other remote conversations, or by necessitating a drive across town.

Colliers International Executive Vice President Chuck Diebel represented Bold Bean in the site search. The city is reviewing a permit application for a $65,000 build-out of the 6,000 square feet at 4815 Executive Park Court by contractor North River Building Solutions.

Burnett said the location is centrally located near Butler Boulevard and Interstate 95 to reach customers and the three coffee shops.

Those shops comprise the first in December 2011 at 869 Stockton St. in Riverside, the second in May 2014 at 2400 S. Third St. in Jacksonville Beach, and the newest in October in San Marco at 1905 Hendricks Ave.

The existing roastery is slated to become Maple Street Biscuit Co.’s new Latin concept, B Street Eats.

Three retail stores, a wholesale business and now a new headquarters represent a significant move for a business that began when Zack’s father, Jay Burnett, started roasting coffee beans in his backyard.

Zack Burnett said his father, a former magazine editor, wrote about food and beverages and after retirement from that career decided to experience it.

Jay Burnett is the business founder and owner, having established it in 2007. Zack started there part-time at age 23 as he completed a fine arts degree at the University of North Florida.

Now 33, he and his brother, Adam, 30, are immersed in the company. Adam Burnett, bakery operations manager, joined the company in 2012. He is a certified pastry chef by Le Cordon Bleu.

From organic to strategic

For now, growth has been organic.

Some concepts proved successful while a shop for Knead a Bakeshop, part of Bold Bean Retailers, closed after about a year because the numbers didn’t work. However, the name Knead still exists and is used for its bakery operations.

Zack Burnett said Bold Bean decided to refocus its efforts on creating and maintaining a strong food program at its retail shops as well as pursuing wholesale and catering with Knead.

“Now we’re more strategic,” he said.

For this year, the move to a headquarters space will enable the team to organize its systems and procedures before further retail expansion. Burnett said no new stores are planned this year, with growth focused on the wholesale side.

The move also will allow Adam Burnett to expand and change up the bakery menu. He now creates four seasonal menus a year.

Also, his Friday doughnuts sell out quickly, so the new headquarters will increase that capacity.

Bold Bean sells its roasted coffee to coffee shops, specialty grocers, offices, churches, restaurants and other customers. It also sells by subscription to individual buyers.

Zack Burnett sees potential for expansion and will put wholesale sales manager Donald Webb full-time on that mission. Webb also had been a barista.

Burnett declines to divulge sales of the privately owned and family-run business.

Burnett wants to double the company’s wholesale business this year from 15 percent of revenue to 30 percent.

The retail side of the business is competitive, with many national and local coffee roasters and shops operating. It’s a friendly competition, he said.

“We all drive business to each other. Everybody supports everybody,” he said.

‘A haven and a hangout’

Bold Bean chose its retail locations based on the neighborhoods they serve. Riverside, the Beaches and San Marco all cultivate strong community identities.

The company enlists professionals to design and decorate the shops to reflect their areas, creating a fusion of Southern and Spanish themes in San Marco, for example.

“Each shop has its own feel and character,” Burnett told participants at the International Council of Shopping Centers North Florida Idea Exchange last week.

It considered a Downtown shop at EverBank Center, but couldn’t make the build-out fit its budget because of some engineering issues.

The shops also display rotating local art, which is for sale by the artists.

Denise Reagan, senior public relations manager with Brunet-Garcia Advertising Inc., said the team immediately increased its caffeine intake and daily steps when Bold Bean opened near its 1510 Hendricks Ave. offices.

Reagan said she walks there most mornings for an iced latte and a bagel and to work for about an hour before walking back to the office.

“The place is a haven and a hangout,” Reagan said.

She said she sees people meeting there “to get things accomplished.”

The former communications director for the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville also said, “It’s great to have another place for artists to exhibit their work.”

Menu items include coffee, of course, as well as other beverages, pastries and grab-and-go sandwiches. The Riverside and Jacksonville Beach shops offer craft beer and wine.

While no new retail shops are on tap this year, Burnett envisions more neighborhood growth later and possible expansion into Orlando and Tallahassee.

He said those cities include populations that fit Bold Bean’s demographic and he considers both largely underserved by specialty coffee. Any locations outside Florida will be later.

The company identifies, visits, tests, buys and roasts coffee beans from the world’s coffee-growing regions. They source for clarity and sweetness. Burnett said he typically travels solo on those trips.

Bold Bean Coffee Roasters Inc. and Bold Bean Retailers Inc. are led by Jay — officially James — Burnett as president and Zack, Adam and Zack’s wife, Lindsay, along with Christopher Summa, as directors.

Lindsay Burnett works in office and retail operations. The company employs 46 people, averaging 12 at each of the three shops.

Zack Burnett drinks a lot of Bold Bean’s brews.

He tastes at last 10 samples a day at the roastery and tries to visit at least two of its cafes a day where he has a shot or more of espresso at each, plus a taste of a pour-over, batch brew and iced coffee for quality control.

While a fine arts degree didn’t apply directly to coffee-roasting, it did enhance his attention to detail. And starting part-time with his father gave him a career focus.

“I fell in love with what it means to people,” he said.

For the producer, it means the possibility of making a sustainable living while often carrying on a generational tradition of growing coffee, he said.

“For the consumer, the coffee-shop experience can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of the day — as long as the coffee shop staff goes the lengths required to make it this way,” he said.

Burnett said coffee provides the start to the day for people worldwide; it brings people together to strengthen relationships, or make plans and decisions; and it can be utilitarian or special.

“To us, it’s a lot more than just what’s in the cup. So much of it is about what is built around the coffee in someone’s cup,” he said.

kmathis@jaxdailyrecord.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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