Many small local businesses suffered during the pandemic because the tourism industry shut down. HI Now host Kainoa Carlson checks out Big Island Coffee to see how they got through the pandemic by switching to e-commerce.
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For Big Island Coffee, the pandemic lockdown was a time of uncertainty because most of their revenue came from retail partners, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and resorts. “When the pandemic happened, our B2B retail partners saw a big decrease because tourism wasn’t coming to the island,” says Keleigh Stewart, Co-owner of Big Island Coffee. It made her and Co-owner Brandon Von Damitz realize how dependent Hawaii’s economy was on tourism. Luckily, the company was able to pivot the business to online sales, which became a huge success.
“We grew about 400%, our online sales, once the pandemic hit. Since then, it’s just continued to get stronger and stronger,” says Brandon. Both he and Keleigh were surprised to see how many people wanted to indulge themselves in Hawaii made products during the lockdown. Big Island Coffee even hired during the pandemic to help manage and operate their online store. According to Keleigh, the company has since been cruising at a nice pace with their new e-commerce business.
Big Island Coffee prides their national and international success on the quality of their products. They keep their standards high in all aspects of the business, including customer service, shipping times, and messaging. Keleigh noted that they are continuously developing new ways to connect with customers by giving them moments of surprise and delight with the coffee, as well as the experience.
Hawaii is slowly starting to recover from the pandemic, and Brandon is excited to contribute to the process through his love for the islands, the vast number of opportunities for improvement, and hope. Keleigh says that she believes Hawaii will come back stronger than before because of the unique products Hawaii has, the sheer grit and toughness of Hawaii entrepreneurs , and the fact that most local business have switched to an online system.
For more information: bigislandcoffeeroasters.com, Facebook and Instagram: @bigislandcoffeeroasters