Welcome to part two of our four-part series, today we get a little insight into Lisa Smoot's life. Lisa is the only daughter of Jon and Barbara Rogers and the second eldest of their children. One of her major roles with San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee is working with H.E.B, a grocery store chain in Texas.
Who are you and what is your position at SFB?
I am Lisa Smoot. Daughter of Jon and Barbara Rogers. My position is VP of Private Label.
What does your job entail?
I am lucky, I get to do a little of everything. Sales, forecasting, budgeting, product promotions, product refresh and my most favorite is getting out and speaking with the end consumers.
What was your favorite memory of building the business?
In the old days we couldn’t afford overtime so anytime something didn’t get finished during the regular shift, the night time crew (AKA the Rogers) would all come in and run the roaster. One night when we were at the warehouse on Edgewater and we had a big order to get out. Jim was roasting that night. It was about 11 PM and Jim opened the door to dump a roast into the cooling pan. He didn’t realize that he had opened the door to the hopper above, so the green coffee in the hopper above the roaster fell into the roaster and ultimately into the cooling pan with the roasted coffee. We couldn’t afford to waste the coffee in the cooling pan so we all got garbage can lids and all six of us began shaking and sifting. We would skim off and separate the green and roasted coffees so we could finish the job. After about 3 hours of trying to sort the two coffees, we gave up. We put the entire 2 batches back into the roaster and made a Viennese Blend.
What is a funny family story about one of your siblings?
At the very beginning of the company, the four kids were the cheap labor, we did everything and anything that needed to be done. We would work in the warehouse during the week and then go out to stores to demo coffees on the weekend. One day John and I were offering samples of coffee at a store. It got slow and we both were kind of bored. A lady walked by and we both said: “Hi, would you like a cup of coffee?” The lady said sure and came over. As John was pouring the coffee into the cup, he made some sound effects, “glub, glub glub.” The lady looked at him kind of funny and said: “on second thought, no thank you.”
What is your favorite product we produce?
My go-to coffee is the Rainforest One Cup. I drink that every day. My ultimate favorite, I absolutely LOVE is our Panama Geisha coffee. That one I brew in my French press. It is spectacular!
What is your favorite part about working with H.E.B?
H.E.B is a wonderful company to do business with. Our company seems to be successful with companies that have similar values, H.E.B is also a family business. They are concerned with quality, their employees, staying ahead of the curve and helping others less fortunate. It has been a great working relationship.
How did we begin working with H.E.B?
We have been doing business with H.E.B for over 20 years. H.E.B wanted to get into the gourmet coffee business, so they sent out letters to invite any coffee roaster to submit 3 different samples of coffees to their product panel. I don’t believe there were many companies who submitted samples. In the blind cuppings, our coffees won 2 of the 3 categories so we were awarded their business. We started selling “Gourmet Coffee” in 6 stores and it was so well received that all the stores wanted whole bean gourmet coffee in their sets.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your memories with me!
Do you have any questions for the family? Email me: Lrogers@rogersfamilyco.com