2022 is coming to a close which means it’s time for our annual “Looking Back and Looking Forward” blog. It’s always nice to reflect on another year of owning and running Hackberry Tea and to set goals for the year ahead. There are some curveballs each year that no amount of planning can prepare us for, both good and bad. Take COVID-19 the last few years for example. That was a force I never would have imagined I would have to navigate while owning a coffee & tea business. A more positive example is the opportunities that I would have never expected like my chance to travel to Colombia for the Best Cup Competition at the end of this year. These unexpected events always keep my staff and I on our toes, but we like to plan ahead when we can and reflect on how those plans play or don’ play out.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts as I look back at the last 365 days at Hackberry:
- The Year of the Coffee Shop: We have been in the coffee & tea industry since 2012, and because of that we have a solid grasp on sourcing and selling teas. With this foundation, we opened the actual Sagebrush Coffee shop in July of 2021. Even though the shop opened its doors last year, this year has been the year we really got the ball rolling. We expanded our staff, established our reputation in the local coffee & tea community (our matcha is a HIT!), developed our menu, enforced policies and procedures, and overall learned a lot about what it takes to not only have an online business but to also have a coffee shop.
- Origin Trips: I went on two origin trips this year. My oldest son, Jonathan, and I went to Guatemala in the spring and my youngest son, Noah, and I went to Colombia in the fall. These origin trips not only expanded my personal knowledge of the industry but also helped with the process of sourcing the highest quality coffee & tea possible. Both trips deepened our connections with farms and introduced us to new people in the industry.
- Putting Ideas on the Table: As we ventured into new things and continued to work on the old, we have brainstormed ideas on how to continue improving. We started a bunch of projects and have not be able to implement them yet. When you own a business, the work is never done. There is always something you can be doing better. That being said, I look forward to the exciting plans we have in the works for 2023.
With the past year in mind, here are the things I am looking forward to and hoping to accomplish in 2023:
- Training Programs: Last year we brought six new staff members onto our team. This has been an exciting process and has helped us realize that as we continue to grow and expand our staff, we should have a more consistent onboarding process. We are working on putting together a compilation of content that will help future staff members have a smoother transition to becoming part of our team. We also are working on workshops and activities to help our current team continue to learn, bond, and reach their full potential.
- Sharing the Knowledge: One of our goals at Hackberry is to help people learn about the tea industry. In past years, we have done this by sharing blogs, newsletters, and YouTube videos. Some of our staff members have recently created a few series of educational video classes about their areas of expertise, similar to Masterclasses. We plan to begin releasing these videos soon and develop more as the year progresses. This project has been 6 months in the making and I think I’m most excited about it.
- Food at the Shop: Since we opened last year, we have only offered pastries from third-party bakeries in the valley. This next year, we will start the much requested savory options! We plan to have a breakfast and lunch food menu and are so excited to what this will do for the shop.
Before I end this blog, I want to remind our community, as I have in past years, that we use years to segment time. Some of these segments play out differently than others, but at the end of the day, they are just segments. We never know what the year ahead will bring but here at Hackberry we always try our best with every segment at hand and put our faith in God. I also want to take this chance to thank you, our readers, customers, and community. Without you, there would be no Hackberry Tea. So thank you, for your continuous support, and we look forward to this next year with you.