Dogs and coffee? Not two things we usually put together but two things we really, really love. So does Jordan Karcher, the founder of Grounds & Hounds, a coffee company that supports no kill rescues around the nation. 20% of all of their proceeds are donated to their rescue partners working to find forever homes to man’s best friends.
We rang up Jordan to hear more about this feel good company:
Where are you based?
Indiana of all places! I started the company when I was getting my MBA at Notre Dame. We are based in South Bend but we do all of our roasting in Minneapolis and have an office in Los Angeles as well. We are big believers in the saying: start with what you have where you are. It’s nice to have less overhead so we can be more risky.
We are big fans of companies who are not running to open in New York and Los Angeles. What is your background?
I worked in the wine industry in Sonoma and then I moved to Southern California to work in the spirits industry. I have a weird passion for beverage brands. I can’t explain it. My own personal outlet was always coffee so I spent a lot of time in L.A. during the coffee boom about five years ago. I learned about the supply chain and sourcing. I was 25 at the time and left to get my masters degree.
I loved the learning aspect of the MBA but once I saw the direction it was going (working for a big company) I figured I could make my own impact and wake up much more motivated. I have always been passionate about animals and animal rescue. I am confident I can make more of an impact – beyond just spending time and labor at a shelter.
I was looking at what other organizations were doing and wondered where I could integrate animal welfare into daily life. ‘Coffee and Dog Rescue’ was kind of my ‘aha’ moment. I checked out market sizes, did some surveys and I found a lot of people with a similar mindset.
So we started tweaking the coffee and then focused on the branding. We get a lot of attention for our packaging and design. We integrated our love of animals into that and launched 365 days ago on March 23rd.
Happy one year anniversary! How did you find the organic coffee makers to work with?
My background is not roasting. So I found someone who has done roasting for 25-30 years. We wanted someone to bring some craft into it. As for finding the bean, it’s a lot of meetings and a lot of coffee! I spent a fair amount of time on the green side looking for fair trade and organic. Our key regions are Latin America and South America and we have some from Africa and Indonesia. We are always looking for the best. That is a key thing for us. We are a coffee company but we don’t talk about the coffee a lot. We let the customers talk up the coffee and we focus more on the social angle.
How did you find the partner organizations to work with? I see you have ones from Silicon Valley and Charleston to Chicago and Kansas City.
Those are our flagships but we are growing partnerships every day. We are still small so the logistics are tricky; we try to automate it as much as possible with key cities around the country.
Keeping our goal on the animal rescue but also learning how to prevent the animals from entering the shelters. We would like to focus on finding placement in forever homes and the core issues for animal overpopulation.
Grounds&Hounds coffee is available on their online store.