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Ep. 4 – The Founding of Backwoods Grind Coffee Company

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Description

This week we are celebrating 3 years of Backwoods Grind Coffee Company! In this episode, Zack and Jonathan discuss the founding of the company; the ups and downs, our scrappiness, and of course, our love of coffee. What a wonderful ride it has been, and we’re just getting started!

Enjoy the episode!

Transcription:

Jonathan Wilson:
Hello and welcome to the Backwoods Grind Podcast. I’m Jonathan Wilson and I got my co-founder and co-host Zack Kile with me today. What’s been going on today,

Zack Kile:
Man. We just got outta the stream here a few minutes ago. And man, just excited about doing a podcast here. We’re still out of town still right outside of Cassville, Missouri. Yeah. Actually headed to Branson here in the right after the podcast to meet up with the family. But yeah. Excited about talking about what we’re going to be talking about today.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah, man had a good morning on the river fishing catching, a few rainbow trout and man, it’s just been a very relaxing week. Yeah. Flew by, but we had some long days and

Zack Kile:
Yeah, you say relaxing, but her relaxing is waking up at the crack of dawn and, and fishing all day. That’s that’s how we relax. It’s not, it’s not physically relaxing. It’s, I guess you would say, mentally relaxing for sure.

Jonathan Wilson:
Oh, definitely.

Zack Kile:
There’s nothing like standing in a stream watching trout rise and trying to pick the, the, the fly that they’re interested in. So yeah. Extremely mentally restful, but not so much physically.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. We got the last trout that you caught today had some gashes on it. And I, I said that’s a good representation of how we feel right now, beat up and bruised. And I busted, busted my back or yesterday and sprained my ankle real bad, but it’s you can’t keep a good man down, I guess.

Zack Kile:
That’s right. That’s right. That that trout is the physical manifestation of our walkie talkie that we carried all week that got dropped off the hood of a car three times,

Jonathan Wilson:
Three times. Yeah. I wonder who did that? yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m very forgetful sometimes especially when I’m ready to get where I’m going, but yeah man, we it’s it’s been a wonderful time with the family. Got, had a lot of rain just it’s it’s been, it’s been, it was different. It’s different than it was last year. In that we got a lot of rain. Yeah. But we, we dodged showers and sometimes we, we ended up in them.

Zack Kile:
But yeah, we fished in the rain called a fish in the rain. That was pretty cool. Yeah. We also had our buddies from Camoretro come down, Logan Webster and he brought his friend Parker Hale . The Trout Wrangler and those guys came and fished with us for a day and we did a podcast with him as well, which will be coming out at a later time. Right. but yeah, that was pretty exciting. Those guys getting to, to understand more about how Kimmo retro came to be and yeah. You know, that’s kind of what we’re talking about today, what Backwoods Grind and how it came to be everybody that at, when we’re at trade shows and stuff, people say, how did, how did you come up with a coffee company? Why a coffee company? Yeah. Somebody asked me that this week, why a coffee company? And so that’s kind of what we wanna address today. We’re coming in on our third anniversary. Yeah. We started in 2018 and so three years is, is what we’re coming into. And so we felt like it would be a good time to bring that up and, and talk about the the background of where Backwoods Grind came from.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. It’s it’s been an exciting ride three years tomorrow and July the third we’re we’re man, we’re just, it just, it’s been a wild, wild ride. Exciting things went full time in, in December. And it’s just been, man. I, I really can’t imagine building this business with anybody else. We’ve become best friends over the last few years and just had a lot of ideas that we wanted to, to, to launch and finally hit one that we feel like is, is gonna take us, as you said previously will take, will take it to the house.

Zack Kile:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s been a wild ride. We’ve always been outdoorsmen and I think we’ve, we’ve talked about that and me and your podcast. Yep. Where we, we talked about our history and growing up, we’ve always been in the outdoors, loved hunting and coffee’s also been really instrumental and something we’re just passionate about. Passionate about good coffee.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yep. We were, just this just this morning we, you know, caught a couple trout and couldn’t really get ’em figured out there after that. So we, we took a break and sat on the, the bank of the, the river there and watched the, the mist rise off the river, the fog and drank our coffee and just soaked it in, man. It it’s it’s we talked about how it’s just a part of, of who we are even before Backwoods Grind. How, I mean, we would’ve, we would’ve brewed up coffee anyway. Yeah. And brought it with us.

Zack Kile:
That’s it? You know, I, I talked about in my podcast, how I grew up hunting home in ch national forest and a popup camper. And I don’t think I mentioned that podcast, but the wake up alarm every morning was my grandpa on the stove and this popup camper with the whistling water pot. Yeah. That would wake us up in the smell of coffee. So coffee has always been that, that tie, that, that link to the outdoors. And there’s nothing like a smell that’ll take you back somewhere. Right. Mm-hmm . And so you know, you’ll catch a whiff of a perfume or a gum or something, and it’ll take you back somewhere in coffee takes me back to those days in Homa CHTA. And so for me, and you be able to, to create a product that how many times when somebody smells Backwoods Grind or smells coffee, they’re gonna go back to that place. Right. Like that river this morning that we were on drinking a good cup of yeah. There’s nothing like that. And so that kind of encapsulates, and I know you have a history with outdoors and the coffee as well, and that’s just kinda where it came to be.

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s right. Yeah. We it, it, I posted a while back spent probably probably been a couple of years ago that you, the, we wanted to create a, a product that brought you back. That’s it back to the time when you’re sitting on the front porch or wherever at camp with your grandpa or, or uncles in my case. And, and dad and just enjoying a good cup of coffee, you know, that first, that first sip, when you’re a kid it’s you, you might ask how in the world does dad drink this stuff, but absolutely it grows on you for sure. And becomes a, an addiction. And if if you’re like anything like me in the morning time, you if you don’t, if you don’t get it before too long, you’re gonna have a headache. Yeah. So that’s, that’s one reason why we bring it and bring it on the river, but you got to it’s, it’s just, it’s an enjoyable, enjoyable thing to, to share a cup of coffee with buddies on the, the bank of the river this morning.

Zack Kile:
Nice. Yeah. That’s, that’s something we talked about. It’s, it’s not only who you’re with, but where you’re at, when you’re enjoying it. And it’s man, just having a cup of coffee in all of these different places. It’s special. Yeah. You can create memories over this cup of coffee and it might be small, but man, it’s it’s exciting and we’re really big on quality. I think you’ll see that as we tell our story, we don’t, we’re not trying to replicate folders and put it in a different bag. Right. We’re really passionate about our process and the quality that we go the, the standard that we go to to make sure you have the best co cup of coffee possible, the freshest cuz I mean, I imagine grandpa’s coffee was fresher than that stuff today.

Jonathan Wilson:
Oh yeah. But

Zack Kile:
It had

Jonathan Wilson:
To have been that’s it? Yeah. I mean, otherwise we wouldn’t well we don’t, you know, it, we wouldn’t continue to, to, to drink it cuz I mean it’s stale coffee. There’s it’s, it’s not that, that great. You gotta add all kind of stuff to it and right. And well

Zack Kile:
They didn’t, they didn’t gr come ground back in the day. Yeah. They had the little hand grinders mm-hmm and eventually people had like the electric grinders in their house and you bought whole beans at the store. Yeah. And that’s a big PO part of it as well, but people are going away from that. So if you want ground coffee, we’re gonna produce the best ground coffee you can have. That’s it we’s gonna be the freshest possible. That’s

Jonathan Wilson:
Right.

Zack Kile:
Why don’t you start with that coffee shop? Yeah. Flow wood, Mississippi where this, this idea came to be.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. So Zach and I actually have another business, it’s a oh digital agency. We build websites and and do marketing for other brands. And one day we were, we also had full-time jobs back then, but one day I believe it was your your day off of your, your other job, you’re middle of the week. You had a day off and we met up at a, a coffee shop and I was gonna work from there from, for my full-time job because I, I worked at home, but we met up at the coffee shop and, and just going over some things. And, and then we, you know, had a meeting about about web projects and, and stuff. And I had this idea and I pitched it to you. I’m ask you what you thought about maybe having a, a coffee company in, in the outdoors branded for the outdoors.

Jonathan Wilson:
And that was in, in mid-May of 2018. And you, I, why don’t you tell me what you went through your mind after we left? Yeah. Like we, we threw around some ideas. Yeah. And and, and we, we thought it would be a cool idea. Yeah. But we wanted to do it. Right. And you that’s, it, you, I, I don’t know how much sleep you got that night because but the information that you gave me the next day just blew my mind that yeah. That you, you caught on to my vision and my idea.

Zack Kile:
Yeah. So we wanted a business in the outdoor industry. We loved the people, we loved the industry, we loved the, the outdoors. And so we wanted a business. And so we had talked about other businesses. Coffee is not the only thing that we thought about doing in the outdoor industry. And and I think Jonathan had somebody close to him, start a little coffee brand. And, and he, he threw the idea out there at the coffee shop that day. And we, you know, we looked around in the market and there just wasn’t anything out there.

Jonathan Wilson:
Right. And we

Zack Kile:
Said, man I really felt good about it. Yeah. I felt like, look, this we’re passionate about coffee. We’re passionate about the outdoors. This seems like a really good idea and logistics and just making things happy. That’s kind of my thing. Jonathan’s the digital guy. He’s gonna build websites post on social media. He’s the guru and all of that. I’m I’m more logistical. And just operations minded. That’s what I’ve been my whole life. And so I went home and started crunching numbers. We started doing research because we didn’t really know how to roast coffee. That was not something that we looked that deep into. Right. We had actually came up with some different ideas as far as how to produce the coffee mm-hmm . And at the end of the day, our research led us to roasting. It will be the best opportunity for people to get the freshest cup

Jonathan Wilson:
Possible. That’s it? Yep. So we, you know, there were drop shippers and, and you can still see there’s a, there’re a dime a dozen now that’s right. Companies cropping up that basically just sell somebody else’s coffee. That’s it. That’s what that was the idea I had. Right. Just to be transparent. I, I had the idea, we could, we could brand this and, and we could, we might, I even told you, it might make a couple of dollars a bag or whatever, after everything’s said and done, and we’d have to sell a lot to make to make good money, but the margin.

Zack Kile:
Yeah.

Jonathan Wilson:
But we, we just, we wanted to build a brand

Zack Kile:
That’s

Jonathan Wilson:
Right. So we you know, we, we didn’t, but we wanted a great product. We didn’t want to rebrand somebody else’s coffee and, and get what everybody, anybody else could get. You know, we wanted it to be specific to us.

Zack Kile:
We were not gonna settle for anything less than the best we could produce. We didn’t wanna put our name with anything that was substandard. And and so, you know, we would throw ideas out, like, like Jonathan said, he threw out the idea of of, of the private labeling and me and him would go back and forth. And I think it, you know, deep down you were like, I don’t know, you know, it’s not really what I want to do, but mm-hmm how do we get started? You know, it’s, it’s tough. And a lot of people can probably relate. People are always trying to come up with, with companies in the outdoor industry. Mm-Hmm and it’s, it’s tough, but I think if you put your best foot forward and try to produce the best product possible give somebody something worth buying. Yeah. And so, and that’s kinda what led us to deciding on first finding a roaster to roast our coffee fresh for us. And we bought a grinder mm-hmm to grind the whole bean coffee, if that’s what people preferred or we would send whole bean, but that’s what we did. We bought a grinder at first and then had a guy outta New York mm-hmm roasting our coffee front for us on a San FCAN SF six.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yep. Initially, yeah. That’s right. Was custom roast. We, we got to pick that pick, pick the roast that we wanted, and those were what, what are now sunrise high noon and sunset that’s exactly like medium and, and dark roast originals. Yeah. And so yeah, it now, before that that was one of the very first times that we had a big decision to make. Yeah. And because it could have made or, or break break us sure. A brokenness and and we had to, we had we through, like you said, through ideas around, and it was it was, it was a difficult decision to make, but it was the right one. Yeah. And then you know, I talked to I talked to my dad and he was excited about it. I’ve talked to him multiple times about about business ventures.

Jonathan Wilson:
And as I said on the previous podcast you know, the intro to, to me, we my dad is, is pretty risk averse when it comes to, to business and entrepreneurship, just and so, but when I, I talked to him it was like a light bulb went off. I could hear it over the phone, his excitement he loved the idea. We, and at this point we didn’t even have a, a brand name. We didn’t have. We didn’t, we hadn’t even really, I don’t know if we had even formed the LLC. And so I talked to him and, and he said I’d like to, to help with an initial investment. And so he, you know, he, he invested a little bit in the, in the company. And we crunched that. I mean, we used pinched pennies with that investment in order to make sure it went the right the right way.

Jonathan Wilson:
And you know, it wasn’t a million dollar investment. It wasn’t you know, wasn’t a massive investment, but it ended up multiplying and, and we were able to, to start to grow the, the company because of that. Yeah. And he’s a, he’s a big part of, of the business today. Because he you know, we obviously he’s a co-founder of the company and right. We’re, we’re appreciative of, of what he, his input and his involvement. He he’s the as we said in the last episode, he’s a, an evangelist, but he he’s an evangelist for God, but he’s also an evangelist of backwards, giant coffee company. That’s right. And so, so after, you know, just talking with him and, and and you, we decided to purchase the grinder. And we did that and, and got with the guy up in New York and and came up with our own roast.

Jonathan Wilson:
And we still, we didn’t have a brand, we didn’t have a, a brand name. We just, we knew that we wanted it to be something that was not nailed down to hunting specifically. Right. you know, there were other, other brands that were, and we wanted to, just to, we wanted it to be outdoors related. Yes. But we also wanted it to be about hard work and the way that, the lifestyle that we have. Yeah. And and that we live and that is hunting hard and, and learning and teaching ourselves and, and growing growing up as we did just learning how to hunt and on our, on our own, in a lot of way learning outdoor activities, like trout fishing and, and stuff like that. So, yeah. We wanted to be about that. Not specifically hunting, but,

Zack Kile:
Well, we didn’t wanna pigeon our pigeonhole ourselves into deer hunting per se, or Turkey hunting. We wanted to have a little more brand reach than that. And so we came out with, with Backwoods Grind, worked with a, a really good logo designer and somebody that helped us helped us with that. Again, it’s not just been us, we’ve had a lot of people help out through the years and, and re you know, we’ve we’ve had some really important people step up and, and help us. But yeah. So the branding aspect that was, we probably initially came in with some more, I know I did personally. I wanted to have like a very niche mm-hmm idea, but the, the guy that we worked with, I think helped us, helped us think through that. Yep.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah, if you if you look at our Instagram, you know, how you can go and look at the profile and and see like previous brand names. Yeah. , you can actually see that when we created the account, it there’s at least one and maybe two different names that we were throwing around. Yep. We couldn’t early on. And so when we landed on, on Backwoods Grind that one stuck,

Zack Kile:
It immediately jumped out. This is it, this, this fits us perfectly. This is how we live our life. This is how we, we do it in the outdoors. We don’t, you know, we’re not at a PO private club. Like we, we work hard for what we do. Yep. And so so we jumped in with that and, and I felt like that gave us a really good platform to start our business, a good branded company. And we felt like this is something that we could work with. So with that, with the brand, and then with the product being top, not, we felt like we could take this really far. We, I think we were pretty confident going in. Yeah. At the time with that initial cash cash investment, we had the few things that we bought, and then we started getting our roaster to roast coffee for, for us mm-hmm and then what we had to do, we decided the next step would be to buy our own roaster.

Zack Kile:
Mm-Hmm luckily the roaster that we had that roasted our coffee for us used the best roaster possible. Yeah. And he did it in small batches. That’s right. And we were then, you know, there was a predicament there mm-hmm because you can buy a roaster for, you know, five, 10 grand mm-hmm and it’d be totally, you know, doable, but we’ve been having a guy use the best of the best to roast our coffee. Right. So what are we gonna do? Right. Well, what we did was going by the exact same roaster he had, which is the top of the line San FCAN SF six. Right. And not only that, but we took a trip to Boone North Carolina mm-hmm with bald guy brew. Yep. Don Cox, I believe. And we roasted with him, he trained us on how to roast. We actually took our coffees up there and he showed us how to make the roasts like they were. And so it was very strategic. And actually pretty interestingly, we we were, I mean, CR crunched on cash, we didn’t have a ton of money to spend on this trip. And so we threw a tent in the back of our car,

Jonathan Wilson:
My car Camry. Yeah. What had close to 200,000 miles on oh eight Camry. And this was all within the first year. So the first six months of the, of the company first seven months, I guess when we launched, I mean, that from idea from the idea to launch was only five and a half weeks. Right. So mid-May to, to July the third, when we actually, we launched. And so things started moving really quickly. You know, we were, we were the logistically was just becoming a nightmare. Yeah. By keeping up with all the orders and making sure that, you know, getting the guy from New York half a country away to to, to get us the coffee on time. And that

Zack Kile:
Was a big piece. Yeah. I mean, we were constantly growing mm-hmm and the time it took for me to tell him, okay, this is what we need. And then he had to roast it. Mm-Hmm and then ship it. That was way too long of a wait. And so that’s what the roaster came in. And so, yeah, we were in Boone, North Carolina, sleeping in a tent

Jonathan Wilson:
In

Zack Kile:
November. That was epic. I mean, beautiful, beautiful country. We stayed in the blue Ridge mountains and Don was an excellent host. He, he showed us around while we were there and we learned to roast coffee there in, in Boone, North Carolina. And and then I think when we came home, it was a, a week or two when the roaster showed up at your house.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. So we the company started in our homes and so we, I have a, a sunroom on the back of my house and that was in perfect location to, to, to start it up. So we had the, the roaster delivered. I, I think it was about a week later a week later. And so we were, we had it delivered on a big 18 Wheeler. He came out and unloaded it, and then Tyler came over with the, the Bobcat forklift and moved it in. I mean, it’s just every everything that we’ve done has been just there’s work involved, you know? And it’s been just the back, like we say, now, all these years later, just a few years later, we say the Backwoods grown way. Yeah. It’s if it’s, if it’s easy, that’s probably not gonna gonna that’s probably not how not, how it’s gonna get done, cuz even if it is easy, I’m gonna make it difficult. well,

Zack Kile:
Not only that, but it’s if you don’t have the money to make it easy, you just gotta get it done. That’s it? Our father-in-law’s like that he’s a farmer and, and he doesn’t take his tractors to the John Deere dealership to get fixed. He fixes ’em himself. Yeah. And so but what that does is make you in turn, enjoy that process to the point that when you do have the money to do it, you’re still doing it the hard way, because it’s just something that you enjoy

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s right. Yeah. And you enjoy the process. And so, you know, Tyler came and, and moved the the roaster, he was in still created up and moved it under the carport. And we, I just, I unloaded it and had the other brothers-in-law Zach and Darwin come over and helped me move it into the, into its location. That it, it was in for two and a half years. Yep. Two and

Zack Kile:
Two and a half years.

Jonathan Wilson:
No, that’s, that’s where we started roasting the coffee and, and then I would get it over to, to you as quickly as possible. And you had the, the grinding and the logistical set up the, the shipping and, and all of

Zack Kile:
That. That’s yeah. Grinding shipping boxing, labeling. And and so, yeah, that was, that was a big deal. We we’re both holding full time jobs. Yeah. We get off work. He would roast, I would be grinding bagging and shipping. Yeah. Sometimes the ship times were not what we would’ve liked because we were so busy, but we got it done. Yeah. And I don’t, I don’t remember too many complaints about that. That’s right. So yeah, that’s just we were just making it happen, man. Yeah. Just doing everything we could to keep this business rolling. We were passionate about it. We were excited about it. We loved the way things were going. And so

Jonathan Wilson:
And all this time, we’re, we’re, we’re also building the web business too on the side. Right. Right. So we have, we each have a full time job and, and we have these two small businesses that are just seeds, you know, seedlings, whatever, you know, they’re, they’re very small and, but we had vision. Yeah. And so, so we’re, you know, there were with that said there were a lot of late nights. Yeah. A lot of late nights in the early mornings. I mean, I, I, there were times I would get up at like 4:00 AM to roast coffee yeah. In order to get it to you and that’s we had cos you know, yeah,

Zack Kile:
Yeah. Our, our brother-in-laws yeah. They would carry the roasted coffee to their work in Jackson and I would go pick it up and, and take it home. And yeah, it was, it was, it was awesome. They were I remember a time when we would we would get like, I don’t know, an order one order a day yeah. For a week. And we were, we were fired up. So, yeah. Yep. Because we were big time now because people were buying, you know, two orders in a day, you know, we have these little milestones that we’ve reached over time. It, it started tiny mm-hmm and you know, me and Jonathan had both made up in our minds from the very beginning. And I’ve said this many, many times I’ve said our family is not gonna be the ones. Our family and friends are not gonna be the ones to make this business or break this business. Right. and so we’re not gonna rely on family. I don’t sell to my family. I do have family that buys, you have family that buys, we have friends that buy

Jonathan Wilson:
Mm-Hmm that’s what I was gonna say. It’s. I mean, we, we, we don’t rely on it. We, and we were gonna work so that we didn’t have to. Right. But that came naturally. Of course, you know, we have support from friends and family. Right,

Zack Kile:
Right. And we have plenty of people that buy friends and family. But I think that can be a big discouragement to, to new business owners that if you, you kind of expect, all right, well, at least I’m gonna have these people buying mm-hmm . But we came in with a mindset. I don’t care if anybody from our family buys, that’s not, that is not, who’s gonna make our company that’s it. And so so we really just marketed really heavily. Jonathan’s done an extremely good job on the website and Instagram and we’ve grown and over three years we’ve grown really, really fast. I, I, I credit it to partnerships. Mm-Hmm, I credit to, to friends in the industry and just good product. I mean, that’s, that’s really, really important to us. We roast in six pound batches. Yeah. You order, and then we grind it after you order it. So we’re not grinding up a bunch of coffee to pour in bags and, and ship out later. No, we grind it the day that you, you ordered or the day that we fill your order. So you get it extremely fresh. Mm-Hmm .

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. And we’re, we’re roasting specialty grade coffee. So we’re, we’re getting it from around the world multiple different origins. And so we have seven, seven coffees now. Yeah. Seven roasts. And they all have different origins in the blends. And obviously some are, are single origin, but so yeah, we, you know, we source it from around the world. Yeah. And, and then and it’s, it’s very high on the, the specialty coffee association grade. Yeah.

Zack Kile:
We we’re coffee people. We don’t wear skinny jeans. But we’re still major coffee people. We’re coffee, nuts. We know our business as far as coffee, I believe I can say that. Yep. But we’re not hipsters either. No. And so we’re not walking around constantly talking about, you know, the UGA chef and this and that. Yeah. Like we’re, we’re, we’re normal people. We nerd out together about coffee. Yeah. But we’re not gonna make you do that with us. And so we’re more, we’re more passionate about the outdoor industry, but we know our craft, I’ll

Jonathan Wilson:
Say, right. And that’s, you’re talking about not us nerding out about it together. The one thing that we, when we started this podcast, for instance, we didn’t want it to be the Backwoods Grind, coffee company podcast. Right. Because this brand, we, our vision for this brand is for it to be bigger than coffee. Yeah. And from the beginning, I one of the, the mottos, one of our mottos was it’s more than coffee. Yeah. It’s, it’s a lifestyle. The Backwoods Grind yeah. Is a lifestyle. It’s more than coffee, but it, coffee is a big part of it. Of course. And that’s

Zack Kile:
Where, and we’re gonna talk about coffee, we’re gonna talk about ways and methods to, to brew coffee. Yeah. And, and different aspects of coffee that will certainly come up in our podcast. I think people will be interested to hear that mm-hmm but that’s certainly not what this podcast is about. We’re gonna be having a cup of coffee when we do the podcast. We’re gonna be having a cup of coffee when we’re talking about doing, you know, doing some of the stuff that we’re doing. We’re gonna be drinking coffee, but that’s not what it’s

Jonathan Wilson:
About. That’s a yep. It’s it’s a lifestyle and it’s, I’m, I’m just amazed at, at the people that are catching onto it. Yeah. And understand where understand they catch the vision of, of the brand. Yeah. And it’s, it’s becoming bigger than we are. Yeah. it’s becoming it’s, it’s grown tremendously and

Zack Kile:
Absolutely

Jonathan Wilson:
We’ve got, we’ve had a lot of people reach out on social media and, and email wanting to, to get on board with helping us with it. And they, they see it. And we’re just, we’re honored by that.

Zack Kile:
Yeah. We really are. We have people that that ask us about, you know, where they can buy it locally. And, and we appreciate that. And if you have anybody that you think would be interested in carrying us, let us know, cuz we, we certainly do sell wholesale to people. But I think one of the really big parts for me was a trade show. Yeah. I think, you know, you can sit in your house and sell coffee online or sell a product online and it’s it’s all good. But once you get out there and face the customer. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a scary thing. Even when we launched the business, there’s a hesitation. Like I don’t wanna fail. And so some people would rather not launch anything because they don’t wanna fail. Yeah. And that’s a really big thing, but you have to put yourself out there and our trade show, our first trade show was a huge indicator to me that, that I think we will be, we will be fine. And we, you know, like we do, we picked a big trade show, a long way off for our first trade show. We went to Des Moines, Iowa. And tell ’em a little bit about that show. What a, what an awesome show that was.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. So the back up a little bit, Zach and I went full time with the company in December. And so we were, we were looking, you know, kicking tires or so to speak and looking for ways to, to generate more revenue for the business. And trade shows came up. And one of the, the big ones early on in, in the year, this year was the Iowa deer classic in Des Moines. And so, like you said you know, we knew it was like, let’s just go all in, let’s do it. And we rented a, an SUV in order to, to haul everything up there. And we got, we hired our, our nephew to come with us. Yep. Tyler and, and he’s, he’s passionate about Backwoods grind and he’s helped us with other things like at banquets and things like that when we, that we’ve served coffee. And he knew the, the process of, of grinding the coffee and bagging it and stuff. So I was very familiar with it and he’s passionate about the brand. So it’s just a good fit. So we, we got him to we packed him into that, that backseat of that that vehicle we were

Zack Kile:
Loaded down. The only spot in the back was, was a Tyler sized hole in the back seat of that vehicle.

Jonathan Wilson:
And he’s not a big, he’s not a very big guy.

Zack Kile:
No, no, we, yeah. So we, we packed up and to Iowa, we went, we didn’t know what we were doing. We and you know, again, that was probably not the best idea. We didn’t know how much coffee to bring. We had no clue. And you

Jonathan Wilson:
Gotta you gotta tell ’em about the about the red light.

Zack Kile:
Oh yeah. I, you know, I don’t know how it happened, but we were, I’ll say that those brakes on the SUV were a touch, a little touchy yeah. And a touch touchy and we were leaving the house and

Jonathan Wilson:
This is like, what, four, five

Zack Kile:
O’clock. Yeah. We left super early. It was dark. Yeah. Yeah. And we’re driving down the road. We had just gotten the car and we were right down the road from our house and, and we’re driving, Jonathan’s the passenger I’m driving and and we are coming up on a red light and I guess I didn’t see it. I’m used to this there being a lot of traffic. Yeah. Yeah. And and I think Jonathan said red light and

Jonathan Wilson:
Multiple

Zack Kile:
Times, and I touched off on those brakes and everything in the back of the vehicle came to the front of the vehicle. Yeah. Very rapidly.

Jonathan Wilson:
Our clothes were in the dashboard.

Zack Kile:
Yeah. Clothes were in the dashboard. Jonathan was on the dashboard. Tyler

Jonathan Wilson:
Was all covered up with, with the

Zack Kile:
Stuff he was covered up. And I remember Jonathan looking at me with a serious face, like, you know, what just happened? Did I miss something? Like, are you okay?

Jonathan Wilson:
you having a heart attack?

Zack Kile:
That was so funny. And a great start. Yeah.

Jonathan Wilson:
Great start.

Zack Kile:
Great. Start to the trip. Woke us up. Yeah. So we, we drive to Iowa. We are absolutely in a different world for us. I mean, it’s snow, there’s snow on the ground up there March. We loved that. But yeah. I’ll never forget setting up our booth. Mm-Hmm again, being, you know, a little Wey. Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. Definitely. But we were, we had a little concern as well. Yeah. because we didn’t know what we were doing. But we set up our booth and, and I’ll never forget about halfway through that first day. I’m like, okay, we’re gonna be okay. Yeah. Because on the, on the second day we ran outta coffee. Yeah. It was incredible. The people in, I were coffee, drinking fools. Yeah. Very receptive. Yeah. We love ’em, but I I’ll say that our accents were noticed down there.

Zack Kile:
I’ve never really, you know, I don’t, you don’t hear your own accent. Yeah. And I, I don’t try to, to have a Southern draw. I don’t. Right. And I don’t really feel like I do, but those folks did. Yeah. And it, and I think that drew ’em to our booth a little bit, but I, you know, it’s funny, we we would have people come by the booth and we would say, you know, Hey yo, how are y’all doing? And they would look at us funny mm-hmm . And then, you know, in the conversation, they would be hearing us talking people passing. And we would tell ’em that we were married to sisters. Yeah. and that just blew ’em away too. Now we, we want, we aren’t married to our sisters but they, they thought we were some they thought we were from Alabama actually. When they heard us say that , but no, we love our Alabama fall. I’ve said that joke a lot of times, but people were people were looking at us a little strangely, cuz they heard the accent and then heard us telling people that we were married to sisters. They were like, these are these Beverly hillbilly folks

Jonathan Wilson:
we had to change it up to like Zach and, and my wife Zach’s wife and my wife are sisters

Zack Kile:
That’s way too long. Yeah, it is. Yeah. So we were just saying, yeah, we’re married to sisters and yeah.

Jonathan Wilson:
Hey y’all were married to

Zack Kile:
Yeah. Yeah. They there were people like taking picture and like, yeah, y’all gotta go check out that booth. They’re married to sisters.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah.

Zack Kile:
And so that may have been why we sold a lot of coffee. They, you know, they had us autographing bags and no I’m joking but I will say that so I, I killed a pretty good deer a few years ago.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah.

Zack Kile:
A good deer for Mississippi standards and like the first few people that went by that we were talking deer with, I pulled out my phone and of course had to show him the picture. But after like the fourth, six year old that had killed a two inch, 200 inch deer, I just put my phone up for the day it’s in incre. Those whitetails up, there are a different ballgame.

Jonathan Wilson:
They’re massive. Yeah. It, that blew our minds. We, I mean, we’ve, we, we knew that there were a big deer up there. It’s in Midwest. Oh yeah, yeah. Farming country. But,

Zack Kile:
But it doesn’t really click with you until you go up there and, and you can walk through and see these mounts. And I mean, it’s like, and, and these people are serious yeah. About hunting. Oh yeah. And you know, we’re in the south. I mean, hunting’s everything mm-hmm but it’s almost like a tradition for us. We enjoy being around people. These people are, are serious. Yeah. Absolutely.

Jonathan Wilson:
From an early age,

Zack Kile:
You better believe it. These, these people are serious about their hunting and it’s it’s really cool to see. I love, I love Iowa.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yep. So we had a, like Zach said a great first show sold out of coffee the first day and a half. And and then we were doing everything we could to sell t-shirts and hats.

Zack Kile:
Yeah. And we sold a few.

Jonathan Wilson:
We, yeah. And, and the decaf, I think our decaf was the, the last last to go, but it did. And yeah, so that, let us know that there was something to these trade shows, those

Zack Kile:
Moments, going back to the motel room that evening just kinda laying there and just thinking back on all the work that we had done and through the years and this kind of being a just a check of approval on the business that yeah. Y’all gonna be okay, it’s gonna, it’s gonna work out really nicely. And that was a really special time. And since then, you know, okay. So we see a trade show works. And so we said more trade shows. Yep. And so we’ve hit every trade show in Jackson. I don’t care if it’s all whi we’re up in the middle of ’em selling coffee. And we, we stick out like a sore thumb, but works. We sell some coffee it’s yeah, yeah. Especially if we do samples, people are people will buy if we do samples. That’s, that’s another thing, you know, you don’t understand do people care about quality coffee? Is that, is, are they fine with folders? And some people are, they’ve been drinking folders in community for so long. Yeah. That’s what they like. Mm-Hmm . And so there’s a, there’s a fear there that are people gonna like fresh, good, wholesome coffee that’s fresh. And and we have found out that once they drink it, for sure they do

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s it. And they’ll, they can tell the difference. We have camp house on, in, in one craft and, and H in another, and they will they’ll choose one over the other. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s it’s, it’s really cool to see the people who are, and, you know, I think that it, we could attribute that to other special tea, coffee companies and cafes

Zack Kile:
And stuff, bringing awareness.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. Yeah. Bringing awareness to great coffee. And so we, in some ways we’re we’re riding, we’re riding piggybacking that, you know,

Zack Kile:
We’re not coming up with anything

Jonathan Wilson:
We’re benefiting from that.

Zack Kile:
Absolutely. I might say, yeah, we’re not coming up with a, with anything new. But yeah. And, and I’m surprised at how many people are crazy about coffee. Yeah. Like passionate, like we are about coffee. It’s not, it’s not uncommon to, to see hundreds of people a day that are just crazy about coffee. Yeah. And grind their own coffee. I love to see that.

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s it, man. And just, I was just thinking about the, the orders that we got yesterday while we were, we were fishing and have a, a buddy taking filling orders for us, not a buffer

Zack Kile:
Back home. He is a buddy, but he works for us too.

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s right. Our employee that’s that’s, that’s hard to, to fathom we’re three years old and we got our first employee this year. And, and so he’s back home taking care of things, shipping out coffee, and we’re checking in and checking emails. And it’s like, just, we’re blown away. I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re not active on social media this week, but people are still actively purchasing her own coffee. And it’s it’s really cool.

Zack Kile:
It’s down here where we’re at in Ozarks, there is zero cell service, right. Like I told Jonathan earlier, we were packing the car and I had left my phone and my fishing vest, my fishing vest for hour, at least an hour. Mm-Hmm , hadn’t even thought about it. Right. I mean, it’s incredible. It’s nice to get off grid detox. Yeah. That’s it. We’re excited about getting back and we’re trying to keep ourselves and from going to that place too soon and, and enjoying the rest of the trip that we’re going to meet with our girls and family in Branson and finish off strong and be back in town Monday or Tuesday of next week to hit it hard.

Jonathan Wilson:
That’s it? Yeah. It’s been, I was telling, telling you earlier that when we were packing up my mind automatically, no, this I’ve, I’ve been like this for years, mind automatically starts to think about next week and getting back to the grind. And and it’s always on my mind, but I still have a few days left cuz we’re gonna meet up with the family. And so I got, I gotta hold back on that, but we, man, I’ve got, we’ve gotten some great ideas, I think for this, from this trip and things that we’re gonna implement going forward. And yeah, for sure. It’s speaking of family, we were also talking about this earlier, how Backwoods Grind has just become a part of the Wilson and Kyle families. Yeah. And we’re for instance, the podcasting stuff we were, we were talking about having to go record the podcast and you know, our wives were like, wait, just talking about the schedule and, and how we can go do our podcast and all of that. It it’s, it’s like I said, it’s just become a part of, of, of who we are. Yeah. And

Zack Kile:
And it says a lot about our wives that’s right. Our wives have certainly sacrificed certainly sacrificed us to do this. Yeah, absolutely. My wife has, has been grinding and bagging. Your wife has done multiple things, helped with trade shows, set up trade shows. That’s right. I mean, they have been endless help and we can’t appreciate them enough, but yeah. For them to, for them to allow us the cuz we, I mean, it’s been time away from family. Yeah. Growing this business, there have been many, many times that I would have to get off work immediately start grinding coffee shipping coffee. And man, we wanted to be with our families, that’s it. But our wives picked up the, the slack that we left and, and now I think we’re gonna get to, to reap some of the benefits going forward. It’s it’s been a really, really big time for us.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yeah. We’ve been able to spend more time. I, I, I have with my family lately. Yeah. and just being able to, to focus on them and man, it’s you realize we talked about this earlier before in the last episode or so and how it was, you know, how our family our kids are, are growing so fast and they’re, you know yeah. It’s, it sounds cliche, but it’s absolute truth when you’re experiencing it. They’re just growing. The girls are growing and we wanna, we wanna spend as much time with them as possible. And that’s

Zack Kile:
It, that’s

Jonathan Wilson:
Looking forward to going and, and being with them this evening, going to see the Jesus play at sight and sound theater in Branson.

Zack Kile:
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve seen a number of those plays and almost all of them. Yeah. Yeah. We try to hit all of ’em they’re they’re excellent plays. You should definitely check ’em out if you’re ever in Branson, but yeah. You know, it’s just something I thought about, you know, when I worked for other businesses, when I’m there I was, I was working my tail off for ’em. Yeah. But you didn’t have to tell me not to think about ’em on vacation. Right. but we’ve built something that we’re passionate about. We’ve built something that we’re excited about, even when we’re on vacation, we’re thinking about it. Mm-Hmm and really, we can’t think the people that have bought coffee from us enough, the relationships that we’ve built in the industry. I mean, think of the people we talk about this a lot, but there are so many great people, all the people that, that you see on Instagram, social media, if you watch TV and see these guys hunting, they’re all approachable, all super cool people that’ll help in any way they can.

Zack Kile:
And we have, we have met so many cool people and made friends. I mean, hanging out with the camera, retro guys just so cool. Logan and Parker are coming down and, and hanging with us. Yeah. And if it weren’t for Backwoods Grind, we wouldn’t have made these connections. Dave Owens, just, I late pick, I could go on and on just so many great guys. And so this has afforded us some really cool opportunities and we hope to continue building relationships, meeting our customers. Mm-Hmm we love to meet our customers. We talked about it on the podcast coming up about meeting one of our first customers in Iowa

Jonathan Wilson:
And then finding out that Logan was one of our first customers. Yeah. Kinda retro.

Zack Kile:
How old

Jonathan Wilson:
Was that? Yeah. That’s

Zack Kile:
Yeah.

Jonathan Wilson:
It’s, it’s just, it’s amazing. That was before he even started the the company.

Zack Kile:
Cameronretro. Exactly. So we want, we want to hear from you. Yeah. We want to hear how you enjoy coffee. Mm-Hmm where you’re at, when you’re drinking your coffee. We, we want to know about you. I mean, we appreciate every single person that’s bought from us. Every single person that’s listening to this podcast. We can’t thank you enough. And we hope to be serving you coffee for many, many years to

Jonathan Wilson:
Come. That’s right. That’s right. So, well, that’s a little bit of history of the Backwood grind coffee company and what in our passion around the company and and our vision for bringing you continue to bring you excellent coffee. And so stay tuned for future episodes. We’ve got a lot of lot coming down and

Zack Kile:
Already one in the book. Yeah. Camo retros coming up in, I guess a few weeks.

Jonathan Wilson:
Yep. Yep. He’s our first our first guest on the podcast officially recorded, but we’re, we’ll be releasing that pretty soon, maybe in the next week or so. And so we’re gonna head out here to, to Branson in a few minutes, but wanted to stop in stop in and record this podcast. A little bit of history about Backwoods Grind. So happy anniversary Zach from Backwoods Grind three years, let’s let’s do another three. Let’s do it. And we appreciate everybody so much. Thank y’all. Yep. This episode of course, was brought to you by Backwood grind coffee company. You can check us out online@backwoodgrind.com also on Instagram search for Backwood grind, coffee, Facebook, Twitter Backwoods Grind, and shoot us a message we’d love to hear from you. And maybe any, any questions if this podcast has left you any questions about the company, shoot us a message. We’ll be happy to chat. So until next time, we’ll see you.

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