A Letter From Our Founder

2020 turned out to be the year for clarity of vision - not necessarily the vision I foresaw at the top of the year, but clarity all the same.

This past year's challenges leave me with a deeper sense of gratitude, as it continuously reminds me to take stock and give thanks.

Thanks to my loved ones who keep me grounded and motivated to continue pushing forward.

Thanks to our board of directors, investors, management team, and rank and file workers who stepped up, sacrificed, and locked arms as we faced down uncertainty and the obstacles in our path.

Thanks to the essential workers in our value stream - the delivery drivers, unseen warehouse workers, and food system operators. They put themselves at risk daily to earn a living and keep the wheels of our society turning.

Last but not least, thanks to YOU, our customers - your support has always been and continues to be, the lifeblood of our business.

The 2020 experience has taught me a few lessons about myself and my company. I learned that Red Bay Coffee isn't just an essential business. We're also a resilient one with a community that has our back.

I learned that we're flexible, capable of making painful sacrifices to shapeshift on a dime. We began the year with over 60 employees and were forced to shrink to 8 in March. After adding new revenue channels, we grew to 44 folks before settling at 35 at the end of the holiday rush.

It wasn't pretty, but here we are. Still standing.

This was the year we stared the potential demise of our business dead in the eye, then made a pivot that would launch our business anew; reaching new heights that included making the Forbes 75 List, the coveted Oprah's Favorite Things Holiday List, and many new retail partnerships.

While our footing is beset for success next year, it is bitter-sweet as I see so many of our neighbors and community struggle to find a path forward and fail. However, I do know that we will continue to support one another the best we can.

As dire and fragile as our society feels right now, I enter 2021 with a sense of optimism and hope. I see Red Bay Coffee reborn with many great opportunities ahead.

Let's keep our eyes open and hope alive. With such profound global disruption in our daily lives, there are bound to be new opportunities and industries that will provide fertile ground to develop and grow.

2020 was a year that made it hard to breathe.

First, it was the Coronavirus - an invisible threat looming over us with fear and uncertainty, forcing us to wear masks and isolate.

Then, it was the very public state violence on the very breath and psyche of unarmed Black people. We chanted the refrain, "I Can't Breathe," amplifying the final words of George Floyd 'round the world.

And if that wasn't enough, we were also immersed in the earth shifting wildfires on the West Coast that threatened our breathing in the very sanctuaries of our homes. The fires and smoke got so bad that at one point, the sun did not rise on a haunting day in September. That day, the sky glowed a deep burnt red. It was surreal and existential.

It has become abundantly clear that we possess an indelible will to survive and that we must breathe, and that we will breathe. Let's enter 2021 chanting, "We Will Breathe! We Will Breathe! We Will Breathe!"

Keba Konte
Red Bay Coffee