Over the last five years, we've been honored to work with some incredible coffee shops across North America. Like most small businesses, our wholesale program started as one of many projects shared by a small group of people. As we've grown we've realized the need to diversify and specialize. That's why we're excited to welcome a new member to our team. Sarah Richmond comes to us with a rich diversity of experience in the coffee industry. From roasting to management, Sarah has done it all. Sarah will lead our wholesale coffee program, connecting our roastery with our incredible wholesale partners. We sat down with Sarah and asked her to tell us her vision for the future of Quills.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your background in specialty coffee?
As a recent transplant from Asheville, NC I could not be happier to continue my career in specialty coffee with Quills in Louisville! Initially, my coffee journey began over a decade ago shortly after moving to the West Coast. I landed my first job as a barista in the Bay Area at a micro-roastery that afforded me both personal and professional growth opportunities in management, coffee education, roasting, and judging in regional competitions. From there, I was able to continue my coffee journey as a managing partner of a local cafe in Berkeley, CA and further connect with industry professionals in the Bay Area and beyond. More recently I worked for the legendary Marshall Hance at Mountain Air Roasting in Asheville, NC in production and as a wholesale account manager. I currently serve on the national editorial advisory board for Barista Magazine and am a regular contributor to their publication, which allows me to share the inspiring stories of my peers with a national audience.
2. If you could only drink one coffee for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This question is nearly an unanswerable one for me because there are so many coffees I have enjoyed over the years. However, if I had to pick just one it would be the Ethiopia Meaza from the Kochere Cooperative roasted by Coava in Portland, OR. This coffee is both delicate and direct at the same time. It's not confusing or needing to be fussed over--a perfectly balanced coffee lingering of honeycomb and sweet rose blossom. . . (Who would want to get in the way of that experience?!) Props to Matt Higgins on this one every time.
3. What's your vision for Quills wholesale program?
My vision for the wholesale program at Quills directly connects to one of the things that inspires me most about Nathan Quillo: to lead and be lead by core values, an internal moral compass, and with excellence and integrity. My greatest professional successes have been a direct result of building long-lasting relationships within the local coffee community as well as the specialty coffee industry at large. I look forward to promoting the continued development of existing wholesale relationships as well as expanding those relationships beyond our region and into new wholesale opportunities nationwide. Currently, It is a very exciting time for Quills as we anticipate the move of our roasting facility into the historic neighborhood of NuLu in downtown Louisville. The building itself is an iconic brick firehouse that will include an SCAA certified training lab for future wholesale education and development. I believe Quills is one of the best kept secrets of the Specialty Coffee Industry and I'm looking forward to continuing the excellent work of those before me with a fresh perspective.
4. You're new to Louisville. What excites you most about the coffee community here?
The coffee community in Louisville already holds a very special place in my heart! As a regular visitor to this city over the past several years, my family resides here and first turned me on to the coffee culture happening just a few blocks away from their home. It is a privilege to land in such a dynamic area with an already progressive coffee community paving the way for excellence. Louisville is a city inspired by vibrant entrepreneurial growth among passionate and hard working visionaries still anchored in their history and hospitality roots. The coffee community is a multi-generational one here and that excites me!
5. When you're not making coffee, what do you like to do? Any hobbies or interests?
My general hobbies and interests includes all things outdoors. I developed a deep passion for hiking and running in the Blue Ridge Mountains and look forward to exploring new territory here in Kentucky. I also enjoy reading and writing about coffee culture and community and consider it a privilege to learn about the life experiences of others. Alongside outdoor happenings, my favorite time is spent with my family--I would choose them as my friends and feel deeply fortunate to be surrounded by such fun, delightful, positive-minded people!