We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Lowery and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Well, I have been told that I have the unique ability to make a long story even longer, so, I will try to avoid that. I, from a very young age, have loved coffee. As an adult, I got sucked into the world of what I thought was great coffee(I will only say that the company logo included a green color and had an image of a mythical, female, sea creature). I, for several years, was a devout consumer of this companies’ coffee beverage. I was a letter carrier with the USPS and after serving on the same route for several years, getting to know my customers, most knew of my love for this coffee. So each Christmas/Hanukkah season, many would give me gift cards to that particular coffee beverage company. Then approximately 9 years ago, I had a delivery to a customer of 2-3 medium sized parcels for 3 days in a row. They were much heavier than I expected them to be. On the 3rd day, a Saturday, the customer came to the door and I asked, “Bill, what in the world is in these boxes; lead, dirt, rocks, what?” He replied. “It’s raw coffee beans, I started roasting my own coffee..” Knowing of my love for coffee he asked, “You have a few minutes, come on in, I’ll show you?” So, he showed me and he definitely saw the excitement on my face. He said, “now don’t go right out and buy yourself one of these roasters like mine(smaller, personal roaster) or green(raw) coffee beans. Just get a hot air popcorn popper, I’ll give you samples of some of the beans I have, then watch a youtube video about roasting with the popcorn popper.” Well, I heeded his advice and began roasting. My two youngest sons were still in high school at the time. When they would come home from school on the days that I roasted they could smell the freshly roasted coffee. They started making comments like, “Dad, you need to start a coffee business! It smells amazing in here!” Also, not long after those comments started, I visited the previously mentioned coffee shop. I ordered a plain cup of coffee as I have never been a huge fan of the doctored up or what I call fru fru(not sure if this is correct spelling lol) coffee drinks. I almost gagged! I could finally taste just how burnt and over roasted the coffee was! That’s when I decided that it was time to provide great tasting coffee to people. Coffee that is roasted with love and passion for the product! Try to get the rest of the masses, who like me, had been fooled, to see the truth about just how bad that coffee was, is! That’s when the idea for Joe’s Daily Grind was born. However, I knew that I couldn’t hastily start the business. I had to put in the research and work. First to learn all I could about roasting and the different brewing methods. I am so glad I did, as the number one comment I get, among many, is “smooth.” For now I am roasting and doing online sales of the roasted coffee. I have other goals though. Two of which is having a mobile coffee shop and a brick and mortar shop. At one point I was close to starting the mobile shop but the pandemic hit. I’m actually relieved that if it was going to happen(pandemic) that I hadn’t, as I’m sure that like so many others it would have gone under. I have once again started doing the research to start a mobile coffee shop. However, it takes some serious capital but once again, I will put in the work, the time and energy to figure out how to reach my goals. Well, I’m sure this is very lengthy but believe me, it is very condensed! I always warn people before they start talking “coffee” with me, “beware, you get me started and it’s difficult to get me to stop!”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an 8 year veteran of the US Air Force and retired Letter Carrier after 31 plus years with the US Postal Service. So I retired with 39 years of federal service. The military taught me so much about personal responsibility, structure, dedication, loyalty and work ethic(although my father was the most instrumental in teaching me work ethic). All of this along with the support of family and friends is what, I believe, gave me the foundation I needed to take that first, scary step into starting a business. I have learned that you must be brave enough to take that first step, be stronger than that fear of taking a risk. You have to accept the chance of failure or you will never be successful!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, honestly, these days with the affects of the pandemic I’m not too sure of that, not sure of what businesses have survived or which have had to shutter their doors. If I were thinking in pre-covid times, I would definitely take him coffee shop hopping, checking out all the different local shops. All that coffee drinking would definitely have to be spread out over several days so we could maintain some sort of normal sleep pattern, lol. I would also check out as many local eateries and shops as possible, including the Mercado District.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many to recognize and thank. First, my wife, Marie. Her unconditional love and support have been the underpinning that I need and rely on and I thank God for her! Also all, the love, support, inspiration and help(technical and otherwise) I have received from my children Ashley, James(JJ), David and Joseph! Thank you to my nephews Jake, Jason(thanks for so much help with the “cuppings” and advice based on your wealth of knowledge in the industry) and Jared as well as my niece Becka! Thanks to Mom and Dad, my mother and father in-law and sister in-law Debbie and Todd particularly for the financial support in the very beginning. Julie Brainard for so much encouragement. Also, thanks to the many friends who helped financially in the beginning and still help by being loyal customers! Ultimately, the most important thanks goes to the one who provides the air that I breathe! Thank you Jesus
Photos by Timothy Eyrich Photography and JJ Lowery Photography