When you think about a family business a lot of things could come to mind. Technically, Walmart is a family business (or was for many years). I also have seen the phrase used as a marketing ploy for a company that has grown beyond the family, but people like to hear family owned and operated, so the businesses jump on the bandwagon. I also know many family businesses where the entire family pitches in to make a business successful, because everyone loves each other and has a passion for their role within the company. I think and hope that's where Hackberry falls.
Read below to meet the family and how each Kellso uniquely contributes to the family business.
Matt initially started Hackberry as an addition to our sister business, Sagebrush Coffee, in order to expand our selection past coffee. After seeing so much potential in the tea aspect of the business, Matt decided to split the business into two, thus forming Hackberry.
Matt was born in Michigan and has two UofM parents, but spent his childhood in South Carolina. When he was about 10 he moved to Tempe Arizona and has been in the Tempe / Chandler area ever since. He loves the valley, but hates the heat. This makes the summers a test in patience. Matt graduated from Arizona State University with an Industrial Engineering degree and spent the first decade of his career at Intel doing anything from process improvement projects to forecasting to RFID consulting. He moved on from there to spend the next decade at Spencer's TV & Appliance doing much of the same things. He is now running Hackberry Tea and Sagebrush Coffee full time and couldn't be more surprised and encouraged by how the 20 years of his career contributes to his daily work here. In his free time he likes to read, hang out with his family, and is a Pastor / Elder at his church (Grace Bible Church in Tempe)
Jenna was the manager of inventory and customer service during the early years of Hackberry Tea. Before we had hired any employees, it was Jenna who was fulfilling all of the tea orders, packaging, sorting, and shipping all of the tea. She is the backbone to the business. The glue that keeps everything together. When there is something that isn't getting done, Jenna isn't shy to go get it. She has gone in on Saturday nights to inventory, spent 'vacation' rephotographing the tea products, she did so much during the early days that it may not even be quantifiable.
Jenna has spent her entire life in the east valley of the Phoenix metro area. Her lifelong dream was to be a stay at home mom and she was able to fulfill that. Besides being an amazing mother to the three kids listed below, Jenna has spent her free time counseling people at our church and helping with the women's ministries there. She loves to craft and has picked up calligraphy more recently. She has begun the pursuit of a '2nd career' by going back to college and is heading towards a nursing degree.
Jonathan's fingerprints are all over Hackberry and Sagebrush. He designed the original Sagebrush logo when he was only 12 and was the head of the Hackberry rebranding that took place in early 2019. He is the mind behind our label and packaging system. Matt and Jonathan seem to have a similar eye for design and work together on that well. He is presently a Senior at Hamilton High and expects to go into either video production, design, or perhaps the hospitality industry for college. He works at Hackberry with either design stuff or production as much as Matt will schedule him. In Jonathan's free time he's doing something creative. Whether it is with music, video production, graphic design or a mix of all 3. A couple of years ago he started a design business where he uses clothing as an outlet for his designs. If you want to see some of his video production work, check out his friend's YouTube channel. Or follow his music on Spotify. Or head over to Ninth & J and grab some of his Merch.
Noah is always willing to do anything that we need. His selfless / giving heart can be seen everywhere. He doesn't yet have an official role at Hackberry, but he is a hard worker and comes in and helps whenever things are needed. He and Eden have both devoted many Saturdays to Sagebrush.
Noah is currently a freshman at Hamilton High School and is working his way towards what at this point is a desire to become an architect. He has always loved legos and design and sees that as his future. For now though he's happy to work on homework for his many difficult classes and enjoy his little free time doing 14 year old boy things (minecraft, listening to music, hanging out with friends).
Eden is our pinch hitter. When someone is out sick or Sydney has a soccer tournament, she steps in and fulfills tea orders. She loves to bake and has a real gift for it. She has started a brand (Eden's Delights) to sell her baked goods to friends and family. As Hackberry and Sagebrush looked for new shops to expand into, I am certainly looking for a some place with a commercial kitchen. You never know if we'll have Eden's Delights become a regular option at a Sagebrush Coffeehouse.