By Rob Boffard, Business reporter, Vancouver | November 30, 2015
Elana Rosenfeld was not even remotely prepared for her first wholesale orders.
Kicking Horse Coffee, a Canadian firm she had started with her partner Leo Johnson was getting some orders from gourmet stores in Calgary, Alberta, 172 miles (277km) away from their base in the tiny town of Invermere in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains.
They didn’t have any cardboard boxes to pack the coffee in, so they scoured the town’s lone back alley for any they could use.
When they’d finally taped the package shut, they took it to Skinny’s Shoe Repair – the spot where the Greyhound buses stopped in Invermere – and put it on a bus to its destination.
That was in 1996. Since then, Kicking Horse Coffee has become one of the biggest retail success stories in Canada, its distinct black packaging appearing in grocery stores and cafes across the country, as well as in the US.
The company is tight-lipped about its finances, but expects to roast more than 1.3 million tons of coffee this year and has over 85 employees.
And in 2012, marketing research firm AC Nielsen ranked it as one of the top ten commercial brands in Canada, alongside national stalwarts like bakery chain Tim Hortons.
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