Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Inc.
Paul and Joan Katzeff came out from New
York City to the relative wilderness of Mendocino County, California. Since 1972, they
have operated Thanksgiving Coffee Company, in the coastal town of Ft. Bragg. Starting out
by buying and roasting arabica coffee beans for local restaurants and inns, they gradually
expanded into sales through markets and a catalog mail order business.
Thanksgiving Coffee added coffee-making
and coffee-related products and started a Royal Gardens Tea Company division. Over the
years, greater awareness was created for the way coffee beans are grown and marketed.
Adopting the motto, "Not Just a Cup . . . But a Just Cup,"
Paul and Joan have developed green coffee buying programs to benefit the independent
growers and pickers in Central America, and to buy coffee grown organically.
Three overlapping affinity groups were the prospects for
the company's shares: customers, neighbors and believers in Thanksgiving Coffee's social
responsibility business practices. Announcements of the offering were placed on customers'
coffee bags and in-store bean dispensers. They were mailed to mail-order customers and
vendors. Printed announcements were carried in targeted magazines, newspapers and the
company's catalog. Thanksgiving Coffee's website had a "tombstone."
Even with all its affinity groups, there simply weren't
enough people to allow the offering to just sell on the numbers. The total number of
prospects was small enough that it was still necessary to get the interested ones to take
action. As Thanksgiving's General Manager, Rick Moon, told Inc. Magazine, "you
have to put the offering in front of potential investors' faces seven times to get them to
take action." Taking the extra effort did the job and Thanksgiving completed its