Fratello Coffee is a company that strives for excellence from every bean that goes into one of their bags or cups of coffee. They also have their eyes set on making a bigger impact in the world, by helping other business owners build a better business. We love their vision, and we feel it makes them the perfect candidate for an Impact Story.
When it comes to a remarkable product, Fratello Coffee has it going on, hands down. It starts right at the farm, with ethically sourced coffee beans. Working directly with the growers to source amazing coffees with unique flavour profiles.“Increasing coffee awareness, excellence in preparation, and telling the stories of where our coffee comes from,” are all important factors for Chris Prefontaine, CEO of the Fratello Group.
“I think we are advocates in the coffee industry, and we’ve been passionately trying to elevate coffee culture for a really, really long time.”
For Chris, this love for coffee is in the blood. He literally grew up in the business, and they named the company Fratello, because it’s the Italian word for brother. That fits their value of family, perfectly.
“My parents actually started the company back in the ’70s, and started roasting in the ’80s. “
With that kind of history behind them, they don’t want to stop at a flavourful cup of coffee; they want to have an even bigger impact on the world. Part of that comes from the direct buying they do from growers. While travelling back and forth is an expensive undertaking, they do it regularly, because it allows them to see, in person, the effect they are having on the farm, and in the community the growers live in. That means a lot to this family, and the families they purchase their beans from.
Their philosophy is simple: financially reward the coffee producers we work with for the quality they produce, in order to bring our customers better quality coffee. Whether it’s for the businesses who purchase their wholesale products, or for the people who work directly for them, Chris says they want to have an impact in Calgary too.
“We’re eager to make a contribution in this city. And I think there’s all kinds of ways that we could do that, and have done that. But I think one of the things that we aspire to most is the contribution we want make around people. We believe we have a great opportunity to build into the lives of the people who work for us, to help them in their journey, both professionally and personally, cultivating our people to do better in this business, and to excel in the job and in their lives. I think that’s a hugely ambitious thing. We just believe that if we take care of our people, they’ll help us take care of our business and our customers.”
For the clients who purchase wholesale coffee from them, the business owners get full access to their team of coffee professionals. Educating people about the nuances of coffee is a true passion for them, at every level, and it’s resulted in success.
Of course, over the years there have been many obstacles for the family, but one in particular really stands out for Chris. “I think one of the biggest lessons for us, and for me, is sticking to what we do best. We’re very interested in what our competition’s doing all over the world, and that’s a good thing. But doing things for the wrong reasons, that has been an ongoing part of our maturing.”
“We are experts in this industry. We’re really good at what we do, and we really put our energies into constant improvement around what we do best, and just focus on that.”
That focus on the experience of the bean transfers from their Roasterie, into their Analog Coffee cafes in Calgary, where they showcase all their elite coffees for people to enjoy. They use the world’s best brewing equipment, and techniques by professional baristas, to deliver an exceptional coffee experience.
So what are Fratello’s plans for the future?
“I have been spending a lot of time, unlike any time in the past, deciding, thinking about, and trying to imagine what we want. If you don’t know what the heck you want, how are you gonna get there?”
As it relates to many, many elements of the business, my role is to provide that direction. We have a business plan, specifically, which lays out the plan and calls for four new caffes per year, over the next five years. So, we’re planning to continue to concentrate in Calgary. I think there’s tons of great opportunity in new communities that are developing, either being built or being reinvigorated in Calgary. ”
After that, they will expand further into Canada, and when they do we predict there will be a lot satisfied coffee connoisseurs, wherever they go.