A home grown success story, Beachcomber Coffee started this year by hitting two major milestones. The prize-winning craft coffee company recently inked a deal for nation wide distribution. And in May they opened a bricks-and-mortar location in Gibsons Landing—right across from Molly’s Reach and the work boat “Persephone” (featured in the CBC TV series The Beachcombers).
Beachcomber Coffee founder Martin DesRosiers is delighted to have secured the location he’d always dreamed of. The retail space had been a cafe (Truffles) for decades, but one day DesRosiers picked up the phone and asked the owner “had you thought of selling?” She hadn’t, but on reflection decided the time was right, and they finalized a private deal at the end of 2017.
DesRosiers then spent months completely renovating and redesigning the space so it could open in May.
A Millennial, with a big following in that demographic, DesRosiers has a vision. “I’m taking a piece of Gastown—which is funky, lots of soul, lots of personality—and just dropping it into Gibsons Landing,” he says.
Both the space and its offerings are unique and reflect the Sunshine Coast. Local artist Ben Tour (www.thetourshow.com) created a mural for one wall, and the outside patio features a bench made from salvaged logs. Beachcomber also sells mugs designed by local artists such as Davyd Oram (www.venicefloats.com) and Bracken Hanuse Corlett (www.wuulhu.com).
Among their food and beverages are some firsts for the Sunshine Coast, such as coffee cones—coffee served in a waffle cone that is chocolate dipped inside. “It holds four ounces of coffee and steamed milk, and it’s beautiful,” said DesRosiers. “You drink your coffee and eat the waffle cone after.”
The product is also eco-friendly since there’s no container to discard. “We are definitely a waste conscious shop, so we will have no straws and only a single to-go cup size,” said DesRosiers. “And we are going to incentivize people to bring their own cups.”
Another unique and eco-friendly product is coffee leaf tea, created by the innovative Vancouver company, Wize Monkey Tea (wizemonkey.com). “It’s a sustainable revenue source for coffee farmers because when you typically harvest coffee beans the leaves are essentially waste or byproduct,” said DesRosiers. The leaves have some caffeine in them and have been blended into flavours such as Jasmine, Mango, Mint and Earl Grey.
Beachcomber Coffee was founded in 2015 . “I launched the company with zero customers. I just had a vision and I spent probably six months before that in 2014 getting the brand prepared,” said DesRosiers.
He almost immediately started winning awards. In 2015 his coffee won a bronze medal in the Golden Bean North America Competition for espresso, and in 2016 it won bronze again, competing against 700 other coffees. Also in 2016, Beachcomber was a finalist for the Small BC Business People’s Choice Award.
Despite this success, DesRosiers did a pivot in the fall of 2017, entirely changing his blend and creating a new one that is certified Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher and Halal. He also redesigned the packaging to give the product a new look. Beachcomber Coffee is sold to consumers online and in retail outlets across the Sunshine Coast and Lower Mainland, and they aim to grow their wholesale business supplying restaurants, offices, and other coffee shops with beans.
“Our blend is targeted towards the daily drinker who likes a more chocolatey or nuttier flavour of coffee,” said DesRosiers. “We’re not trying to produce 20 options to appeal to everybody. We’ve put all our bets on this one solid blend that people really like.”
The coffee is currently roasted in Vancouver, which gives the company easy access to warehousing and national distribution. But DesRosier’s heart is in Gibsons. He believes passionately in giving back to the community, and donates extensively to charitable fundraising efforts.
“I grew up here. I’m a coaster, I’m not a transplant,” he says. DesRosiers attended Gibsons Elementary and Elphinstone Secondary, and now his children are growing up in the same town.
“This is about building my kids a legacy so hopefully when they’re older they can take it over. That’s what it’s all about for me.” Beachcombers Coffee Co. 1-855-25-BEANS.
– Donna McMahon