Wink Farrand sets up his booth at several farmer's markets around Fresno offering clients more than just a cup of coffee.
What's the nature of your business?
We offer a really robust European style great coffee experience. When I say European type of coffee — it doesn't have the strong, strident flavors. It's much rounder, fuller and subtler. It's all organic, I like being healthy and I want to have an alternative for people. We also offer organic tea and chocolate, and we just launched hot cocoa.
How did the idea of starting a business originate?
I was a pastor for 37 years in 13 churches in a lot of different areas (including Fresno). I was in a San Jose church when the economic downturn hit, so when dividends took a nosedive in the stock market all of a sudden donations that were coming in were very small. There were three of us on staff and I decided to take a hit. I was doing a lot of soul-searching on my own trying to figure out, "Is this where I'm going to park it for the rest of my life? Or do I want to do something else."
How did you decide to get into the coffee business?
Typically, what a church is about is people gathering to interact. Well, same with coffee. A true coffeehouse in a neighborhood like you would see in Canada or Europe is an actual neighborhood gathering place. People come there to see each other, they're like little churches. I got the idea from that and also to be a force for good and change. Once I get a shop up and going, then I'll say: "Hey, this school needs to be painted, how many want to volunteer because Wink's Coffee will buy the paint."
What's the history of your business?
Grounds for Change is the brand of coffee that I launched with in 2012. Then I added tea and other products. I started with a home show here in Fresno. We gave a lot of cards and I don't think I made any money but I needed a platform to get some exposure. After that I picked up the Kaiser Farmer's Market, Riverpark Farmer's Market, Kingsburg Farmer's Market, then I've gone to this ongoing farmers market at Barstow Avenue and First Street.
What is your philosophy on customer service?
Here's my pitch for those who come to my booth: I'll pour you a cup. If it's not the best cup of coffee you've had this week, it's free. I'll just watch them because once that coffee hits their palate, their eyes just get big and as soon as their eyes get big they know that they're paying for it. My customers know that I'll tell them to taste it before they leave to make sure it's right; if it's not right, let's fix it.
What are your biggest rewards?
Meeting people, it's always a reward for me to see them getting hit with the first time they've had a really great cup of coffee. I really want to give people a great experience. I don't want me to just be about bags of coffee and drinks.
Is it drastically different being a business owner than being a pastor?
It wasn't much of a stretch. It's the same skill set, you're meeting and greeting people, you're trying to find out what it is they want, what they need and what's going to make them happy. I have young people that hang out just because I'll listen to them. Some of them will sit there for an hour and tell me all about life. It's again this pastoral thing. I want that booth to feel like home to them.Wink's Coffee
Owners: Wink Farrand
Founded: March 2012
Location: Wednesdays at Kaiser Farmer's Market Fresno, 7300 N. Fresno St., 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturdays at Kristina's Natural Ranch Farmer's Market, 761 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone: (559) 840-4014
Annual sales: $15,000 (2012), $35,000 (2013)
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