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- The only thing I was interested in is quality and quality coffee. I love coffee, I dream about it every single night, and I kinda added up all the coffee that I drank, and I thought, if I can find 50 people who drink as much coffee as me, I can cover my house payment. So I just literally roasted coffee in my basement and it took a few months before one person bought one pound of coffee. It was a little bit trial by error, and then it was really an elimination of choices. I didn't have a lot of money, I think wholesale coffee at that point in time, the green market was maybe 80 or 90 cents, selling price wholesale was 3.75, and I knew my house payment was $850. And if you might think about coffee, you think about the trends on wine, bread, chocolate, beer, scotch, they're all kinda the same. There's still a glut of that commercial stuff in the middle, the Wonder Bread if you will. But all these bakeries popped up, kinda like we did for centuries before. Same with local breweries, I think we were lucky in a coffee industry 'cause fine wine had really blazed that trail before us, and a lot of what we do, even to the descriptives of our coffee, have taken from the fine wine industry. I was find the best coffee that I could find in the world, roast it the best way known to man, and get it to the customer as fast as humanly possible. So I discovered these air roasters. It's kind of the concept of a hot air popcorn popper. The beans are really handled gently and they erupt together really smooth. It doesn't break 'em and every single bean is roasted perfectly, from one side to the other. The cup in a air roasted coffee is very smooth, mellow, creamy, non-bitter. The taste was dramatic, so that took me to Corvallis, Oregon, and this crabby old guy who built these roasters in this old church in Corvallis, Oregon, so I bought one of those and sent it to Kansas City and so my 17,000 now was down to about $4,000. I didn't have time to measure the door so of course the roaster wouldn't fit in the basement, so I had to spend a couple more weeks to find somebody that would be able to cut that in half and get it down in the basement. When I put the roaster in the basement, it took the electricity that could had gone to the air conditioning. The first sale vividly remember. It was to Pam, and she had a cart in KU Med Center and at St. Lukes. I think she probably just admired my passion perhaps and so finally, after seeing her several times, she gave me an order for ten pounds. I went straight to Brookside, went down my basement, roasted a coffee, drove straight back to her, and she said, "What's that?" I said, "It's your order." "Where'd you get it?" And I said, defensive ,self-righteous, "What do you mean where I got it, I roasted it." "Where?" And I said, "In my basement." And she touched, she goes, "It's still warm! "This smells incredible." So then, a couple bells went off. After that, I walk right in the front door, wherever I was deliverin' and it was like a cartoon with Wiley Coyote. You could just see the aroma going behind me. So that first month of December 1993, I had sold $1,100, I think I had nine accounts. The next month it was probably 30 some hundred dollars. That first full year then we did 540,000, and then it was a little over a million, and then just under two million, and so on.