Welcome to the last part of our four-part series about the siblings who now run San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee. We are so happy you joined us on this adventure to learn more about our family! Now here's a little more about Pete, our CEO (and my dad!)
Who are you and what is your position at SFB?
Pete Rogers, CEO of SF Bay Coffee Company.
What does your job entail?
As CEO I live in the future drive where the business will be in the next year to 10 years. The planning, structure, acquiring new business and developments of new products are all concepts I bring to the Board monthly. I also check in with all department head to see how the day to day business is running.
What was your favorite memory of building the business?
We started on 3rd street in San Francisco with 5,000 sq feet. We moved the company in a few truckloads to Oakland. Walking into the Oakland facility, which was 15,000 sq feet, and hearing Gil Klein state “ we will never need another warehouse for the rest of our lives.” I thought at the same time…” We will outgrow this place in a few years.” We now have 4 facilities, almost 1 million square feet around the world.
Do you have a funny family story about one of your siblings?
When we moved to San Leandro in 1988 to a 38,000 sq foot facility. We set up a safety and evacuation program in case of emergency and we put flashlights on everyone’s desk. We trained how to grab the flashlight and work with everyone around to safely evacuate the building. During the '89 earthquake Jim and Lisa were still in the office and Jr and I in the facility packing the last of the days coffee. When the earthquake hit I ran into the building to help the 3 ladies at the end of the line out of the building and saw Jr, all 6’5, 250 lbs running towards me with 2 ladies under his arms. I grabbed the last of the crew and ran out in time to see Jim jump down from the loading doors. Lisa was nowhere to be found. So we ran back in the building to find Lisa running down the stairs…” I forgot to grab my flashlight,” she yelled as she ran past me.
What is your favorite product we produce?
My favorite farm and coffee is always the one I am visiting at that time.
What is your favorite part about traveling and buying coffee?
The people. So many stories, families and lives have been impacted by this company. They are so welcoming, open, honest and warm during the visits. I sleep at their house, eat with them at their tables and love to share the history of their families with them. We are really one big 25,000 strong family unit.
Do you have a favorite story from your travels?
Visiting Guatemala in late 1980’s the farmer had no idea who I was or that I spoke Spanish. So I am in the back of an old Willys Jeep, top off, driving on Finca Las Nubes, the farmer, Ricardo, is driving and asking the exporter, Kent… "Who is this guy?” in Spanish. Kent turns around in English and asks me the question. I answer “we are roasters.” Ricardo asks, “ How much coffee does he want to buy?” Kent turns around again and asks in English so I answer “ The whole crop.” Kent translates for Ricardo and he blurts out “”*^&%$^%$# we need to make this guy lunch or something.” And with that, I start laughing. Both Kent and Ricardo turn around and say “ You speak Spanish?” That was the start of a great relationship between farmer and roaster.
Thanks, Dad! I mean Pete...Dad...same thing to me! We love hearing about his travels. Stick around for an article later in the week about how traveling increases your happiness for a sneak peek into why Pete is so happy. P.s, you're going to love hearing more about his job. 🙂