Employees: A little over 40
Mark Goodman guides Denver’s venerable brand through the ‘forgotten middle’ of the crowded coffee market with no-frills quality and solid partnerships
Boyer’s Coffee CEO Mark Goodman perks up in the morning to a cup of Spoon Bender or Rocky Mountain Thunder—the coffee roaster’s two best-selling dark roasts.
“I love them both equally so it might be a random Tuesday when I have a Spoon Bender and a random Wednesday when I have a Rocky Mountain Thunder,” says Goodman, who joined Boyer’s Coffee in January 2013. But don’t pass the cream and sugar. “I’m a purest. I want a straight cup of coffee. I can’t confuse the tastebuds. It has to be pure to the taste.”
“Mr. Boyer founded the company and discovered you can roast coffee beans at high altitude and offer customers a superior-tasting flavor profile,” Goodman says. The roaster uses only handpicked Arabica beans and has a rich history of roasting in the Rocky Mountains. Some of the company’s relationships with growers have already lasted between 35 and 40 years.
That’s resulted in a cup of coffee that Goodman likens to a dependable Chevy Suburban. “We are a solid cup of coffee. Our focus everyday is to deliver a great cup of coffee for our customers. No hype. No pretense,” he says. “We’re not trying to be a super-artisanal cup. Our focus is really to stay in what we call the forgotten middle. That mom and dad, the professional that wants a great cup of coffee who doesn’t mind paying a good price for it but not paying too much in terms of overpaying for not getting quality. That’s our focus.”
Boyer’s Coffee is a fixture on the shelves of regional grocery stores like King Soopers, Albertson’s and City Market in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. It’s also available at Sam’s Club and Walmart.
Goodman is working to expand the brand. In March the company became the exclusive ‘cup-a-joe’ at Taco John’s. “They have 400 stores in 25 states. We’re very pleased and proud to be partnering with them,” he explains. Similarly it recently became the coffee of the world’s largest car auction company, the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. out of Scottsdale, AZ.
Goodman, a former corporate vice president of U.S. Strategy at McDonald’s—where he was one of the key leaders of McDonald's coffee program—and later a chief marketing officer with Walmart Stores and Sam's Club, was brought in after founder Bill Boyer passed away in 2009. The company had floundered following Boyer’s passing, but is flying forward with Goodman—literally.
“We start off every morning in 70 cities around the U.S and 10 international countries on Frontier Airlines Flights as the proud exclusive premier coffee of Frontier Airlines now,” Goodman says.
It’s fitting. “We’re really on a re-launch of an almost 50-year-old Denver and Colorado brand,” Goodman says. “We’re looking to reposition hopefully for the next 50 years and beyond.” The company plans to double in size in the next three to five years. “Building out in to Arizona, Nevada, Southern California is certainly part of our primary growth strategy,” he explains.
That growth will require more talent, according to Goodman. But he anticipates that the company’s roasters in an historic schoolhouse on Denver’s North Washington Ave., can handle it since they currently only operate Monday through Friday between seven and eight hours a day.
Goodman stresses that the company is focused on growing sustainably and organically. As part of the growth the company has started to open retail stores, including a new coffee shop in the Denver Tech Center area. The new store at the corner of Arapaho and Quebec is slated to open this summer (2014). It will be the third for Boyer’s Coffee, he says.
Challenges: A very competitive market. “We have to work harder and smarter to make sure we’re out in front of our customers,” Goodman says.
Opportunities: “Tapping into that forgotten middle” and becoming a trusted brand beyond the region, Goodman says.
Needs: To continue to attract and retain top talent as the brand moves to higher levels. That and excellent partners, like grocery stores and other opportunities like Frontier Airlines.