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My grandmother has always been one of the most important people in my life. As I sit here in my office, after just coming back from visiting her in Utah, I realized it’s time for another blog post since I haven’t posted one in awhile.

Everything we do in life is shaped by the people with whom we surround ourselves. It’s extremely hard seeing that someone who raised me since I was little can no longer do the basic things that we all take for granted everyday. I’ve always lived my life with the lessons that I’ve learned from my grandmother. All of my business decisions and practices have been influenced by her kindness. I decided to open a restaurant because of the food she cooked for me to eat when I was younger.

People told me that you have to be ruthless and do whatever it takes to survive in the business world. I don’t believe that has to be the case. Kindness, respect, and honesty are most important to me. How you act as a person will determine what type of business you will run, and how you run your business will determine the type of person you are. I never set out in this journey to be the biggest or the best. I have a simple vision, and that vision is that whatever I do, I will never let my loved ones down—especially my grandmother.

Over the past year, we have grown so much as a company. None of this would be possible without the people that helped raise me along the way. Whether it be because of my grandmother’s kindness, our friends and family, our customers, or our staff, I would never have imagined that a little coffee shop started in 2013 in the small town of Cornelius could reach this point.

One huge change for us this year that I know will make my grandmother proud is that we have decided to secure our own farm in Vietnam. This is a very important step for Waterbean because I want the world to experience coffee from my hometown. Even though Vietnam is the second highest producer of coffee around the world, only around 6% of its coffee exports is considered specialty grade coffee. I want to change that.

In the meantime, I can control the quality of the coffee from the source. This is very important because only a handful of coffee roasters in the US have full control over how coffee is grown. It’s like having your own garden. Again, the reason for me doing this is because of the simple kindness teaching from my grandmother. I want to give back to everyone that has contributed to the success of our company by creating a circle of life. (In this case, I prefer to call it the circle of business.) I know firsthand how difficult it is to get off the ground, so I want to elevate everyone that I’m in contact with (whether it be my family, friends, employees, or customers) just as much as they have elevated me. Together, with a simple vision of kindness, we can do amazing things in this world.

I’d like to close out this post with a simple message to our customers. It’s a joy and an honor to be able to wake up every morning and brighten up your day as an important part of your everyday routines. Because of this, you’re not just another customer, you’re part of the Waterbean family that now stretches from sea to sea. To our staff, the future is shining very bright for our company. I have a lot of plans in the works, and, with patience and dedication, all of us can make Waterbean Coffee the best coffee shop in the world! Thank you!

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