Member Spotlight: Messenger Coffee

For Messenger Coffee Co., it’s all about the two Rs: respect and relationships. Both have guided this small business since it was founded in 2013 by three small coffee shop owners who wanted to change the future of coffee and pastry in Kansas City and beyond.

Messenger prides itself on respect for customers, respect for employers, and respect for those who provide their key ingredients: farmers. A deep engagement at the farm level helped them make buying decisions that were fair, sustainable, and would have a lasting impact throughout the entirety of the supply chain.

Building relationships for the company’s first four years strengthened that respect. Messenger built relationships with coffee farmers and other local coffee shops through their products.  You might call it a “slow roast” because it wasn’t until 2017 when Messenger opened their flagship café in the Crossroads. Those early partnerships have been key in helping Messenger succeed and grow. Their coffee is sold in more than 30 locations across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and even St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As success came, momentum stopped in early 2020 when Messenger, like so many of KC’s small businesses, was hit hard by COVID-19. The pandemic forced Messenger to lay off more than 120 staff members, and strip down procedures to essential programming only.  Five months later, Messenger survived and was able to rebuild their team, but there’s even bigger changes happening now.

Messenger’s team is now part of a new holding company called FairWave Holdings. They’ve joined with other local coffee shops, and Chamber members such as The Roasterie and The Filling Station, to create a collective that keeps local coffee companies alive and well in KC. The Messenger brand isn’t going anywhere though. They will still thrive as an individual brand.

You can cheer on Messenger and the other Top 10 Small Businesses at the Small Business Celebration Virtual Awards event, October 15. The Chamber will name the 2020 Small Business of the Year and present the Mr. K Award. The Presenting Sponsor for the Awards is the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  Our 2020 Small Business Programming is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Evergy. The CEO Level Sponsor is Honeywell.