The past 2 years have been really crazy for the entire planet and here at RSR we weren't spared from some of that. In March, April, and May of 2020 we saw some of our highest online sales ever (while spending $0 on digital ads, as is our custom). At the same time, our commercial sales plummeted. Fortunately we ended 2020 still in the black and even grew a bit over 2019, despite the losses in commercial sales.
We also canceled our "Café Hours" retail operation in spring of 2020, which was a bummer but also allowed us to focus on what is really the core to our business: roasting awesome coffee.
That same year, I went back to work full-time in the tech industry - the career I started in my 20s and then took a decade off of in my 30s (which is when I started RSR). But it was time to get back to a "normal job," so just 3 months before the pandemic started I landed my first gig back in tech. I've moved around a few times since then but am still at it and managing RSR on the side.
For the past 3 years we were fortunate to have Jessica Kettler running production days at the roastery in Tama. Jess is an artist at heart and by trade, so this month she decided to move on from RSR to open up more time for her to pursue artistic ventures as well as run her agro-tourism business, Windy Goat Acres, just east of Tama-Toledo. (Seriously, check it out - it's awesome.) I'm profoundly grateful for the work that Jessica put in to keep RSR fans happy and well-caffeinated, and we of course wish her nothing but success in her next chapter!
With Jessica moving on, it gave me the opportunity to reassess things in the business that I had kept doing even though I was no longer the roaster and I came to the realization that I need to delegate even of the work that I had maintained. since Jess started in 2019.
So a few weeks ago I created an "Operations Manager" position on Indeed and got a handful of applicants from the local community.
I'm thrilled to announce that Jenny Rosario was selected as the candidate of choice for that position and she thankfully accepted late last week! Jenny is not only an OG RSR fan, we've known each other for a few decades, and she's been friends with my wife Erin for even longer. It feels great to know and trust someone so well-suited and equipped for this key role for RSR.
As for me and my place in RSR, I've been slowly working on some strategic projects for the business and having more of my "free time" outside of work available to pursue those will help RSR shift into a new stage of our business, which is celebrating its 7th birthday next month!
Small businesses are a labor of love and RSR has certainly been a lot of hard work and hard lessons learned (the hard way, usually), but it's also been a lot of fun the entire time. I truly love it, and everyone that's been along for the ride these past 7 years is an integral part of that love. Keep being awesome, coffee friends!
Cover photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash