Amavida Coffee Roasters makes a local (and global) impact by Wendy O. Dixon
Dan Bailey, owner of Amavida Coffee Roasters, grew up in the coffee-farming town of Yauco, Puerto Rico, and moved to Algeria in his early 20s to study engineering. He’s worked as an engineer and project manager for Raytheon, General Electric and Emerald Solutions. He started an independent consulting firm, reviewing and consulting for various Fortune 500 companies. But he’s always had a heart the farming communities he knew as a child in Puerto Rico.
It was during his time consulting businesses that Bailey did a thorough self-evaluation of his skills and, with the support of his wife, Sally Bailey, decided he wanted to work with coffee. Seeing the impact of unfair buying trends on small farming communities, Bailey knew he could make an impact. The Baileys began experimenting with home coffee roasting while living in Birmingham, Ala., and decided to move close to Seaside to take root and raise their daughter, Caroline, here.
They opened the first Amavida Coffee Roaster in 2004 in Freeport. In the years since, Amavida has opened four cafés spanning from Seaside to Panama City, and has a roasting facility in the South Walton Commerce Park which houses, roasts and distributes its magic coffee beans. Dan is CEO and manager, while Sally serves as board vice president and secretary, and wears other hats in the majority women-owned business. The company was named Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine in 2018.
For the Baileys, the coffee business is not about the almighty dollar. It is about creating relationships, fostering love of life, and supporting happy and healthy relationships. The company’s mission is to improve the lives of small coffee farmers in impoverished communities. Each year, the Baileys visit the farms where they buy Amavida’s Organic and Fair Trade coffee beans to ensure the communities are properly cared for and that the profits from coffee sales are being distributed fairly.
Amavida is recognized as a Certified B Corp, a designation for companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab, an organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Corps must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Amavida is among these sustainable brands, and is Florida’s only certified B Corp in the coffee industry.
Amavida has been listed as one of 203 companies in the B Corp community that are recognized as 2018 Best For The World: Changemakers. This list celebrates the companies tackling the hard work to make measurable, positive impact improvement. Each of the more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations declares, upon certification, to be committed to continuous impact improvement.
Dan and some Amavida staffers attended the B Corp retreat in New Orleans recently as the coffee sponsor of the event. During the retreat sessions, the Amavida staff discussed with other B Corp companies how to do more to make a global impact for good.
While they Baileys strive to make a global impact for good, they support local young people who want to make a career with the company, knowing that the future of the industry relies on the younger staffers. The need to do good is also instilled in the company’s 40+ employees. Some who grew up in the area and attended Seaside Neighborhood School include Jennifer Pawlik, project manager; Martin Trejo, director of coffee; and Jacob Thompson, general manager.
Amavida is a recipient of Real Leaders 100 Top Impact Awards 2019, a magazine that recognizes positive impact companies. The awards rank the top companies applying capitalism for greater profit and greater good. The coffee roaster’s plan for future impact is having “healthy coffee farming communities supported by consumers that are educated and concerned about their choices. A belief in the B Corporation movement as a means to improve the way we conduct business – toward others and the environment, and educational institutions teaching a new way of doing business along these ideals.”
The list of 2019 Top Impact Companies celebrates businesses who continuously work to make measurable, positive impact improvement. “We can only affect positive change through connection and collaboration with our suppliers, customers, employees, and within our communities,” says Madison Daum, a student intern at Amavida. “We are so grateful for our local communities and our partnerships with organizations like Cooperative Coffees and On the Ground Global, who make working towards our mission and our ability to support sustainable communities possible. It is also with great dedication from the people on our team at Amavida Coffee Roasters and our coffee producers who are in the grind every day, working to be a force for good.”
Three of Amavida’s coffees earned bronze medals and one silver in the Golden Bean Awards, the world’s largest coffee roasters competition and conference. The silver medal recognizes Amavida’s espresso mandarina as the 14th best in the country.
After 11 years serving coffee on the beach side of town, Amavida has a new location at 25 Central Square, along with a new look and some new menu items. “It’s a big change from that 30-year-old temporary building that had a lot of charm, it was part of the Seaside experience,” Dan Bailey says. “But this also allows us to do more. Having seating is important for having space to gather. Hopefully our customers are going to receive it well, it appears so.”
Wall art from Anne Hunter Galleries, located next door, is featured in the coffee shop. Adding to its menu, Amavida offers beer on tap from local producers, a wine menu and some healthy foods. And while the coffee brand has a new appearance, the vision remains the same. “Since our beginnings in 2004 we’ve aimed to create global impact, improving the lives of coffee producers through our work at Amavida,” says Jennifer Pawlik, project manager. “The artwork that’s resulted from this rebrand is intended to more clearly express who we are, and who we are growing to become as an organization. We hope that the new logo and other elements (e.g. colors, font) will capture the character of our company, vibrancy of our culture, and quality of our offerings; while inspiring pursuit of our vision and mission — to be recognized as the leader in our industry by our customers, our employees, our community, and our suppliers and to be the best sustainable coffee and tea provider in our communities.”
Pawlik explains that the emblem is as a radiant symbol, signifying elements that bind people, as well as Amavida’s passion for coffee and love of life. “In a more general sense, triangles are symbols of creativity and change. Also represented is the sun, its rising and setting is a shared experience across the globe and is something our local beach communities are famous for. A mountain may also be seen and is intended to honor producer communities and the coffees origins, which are often found in mountainous regions at higher elevations. Another element of this design is the indigenous Aztec style of the artwork, which like our Latin name is inspired by some of our first-formed relationships at origin in Central America. Finally, you may see a pathway within the radiant symbol, which recognizes the journey we are on together and the roads we walk in solidarity.”
Click here to visit Amavida Coffee, or to view other merchants in Seaside.