Attributing the overwhelming success behind his family grown business to commitment to customer service, K &M Coffee President Bob Grimsley reflected on the remarkable story behind this coffee service company as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
In discussing the anniversary Grimsley said, it start with all our employee, they all want to be the best at their positions. They will do whatever it takes to keep our customers happy. I would like to thank that we hire from the same gene pool as Chick-Fil-A, note our tag line "Where a Happy Day Is Brewing."
Despite many obstacles, we are here to celebrate our 50the anniversary because we are committed to our customers and to delivering exceptional service. We understand that you cannot put a price on customer relationships, and we want to thank each and every one of them for helping us to reach this important milestone in our company's growth and success.
K & M Coffee was founded in 1968 by husband and wife, Dean and Sharon Kendall. K & M stands for Kendall & Mrs. At the beginning, the operation was run out of the family home, and shortly afterward moved to a garage on Royer Avenue in North Canton. Two years later, the company added vending machines and daughter Lora took over the route when she graduated from high school.
Grimsley recalled, [In 1977,] "Lora and I were high school sweethearts and we married in September. I was injured and off work and noticed Dean was scrambling to get vending machine ready for a new account. I started to help him to speed things up. We worked well together and Dean offered me a job with K &M Coffee. I thought about it for about 30 seconds and the rest is history."
In 1978, K & M Coffee moved to North Main Street in North Canton to a facility that feature office space and a warehouse in the lower level. The space worked for a while, but the company was growing out of it, leasing space at storage units. It was this same year that Dean suffered a fatal heart attack. Deas was a very good teacher to Grimsley, who learned a lot from him. "Sharon made me manager," he said. "We hired more employees. We recovered with the help of suppliers, friends, employees and family."
In 1983, K &M made its final move to the current location of 6501 Promway Ave. NW North Canton, Ohio. "At that time, it was a big move," said Grimsley. "Looking back, it was the best decision we could have made."
In 1999, Sharon Kendal sold the business to Bob Grimsley (son in law) who decided to focus solely on the coffee side of the business. The vending division was sold to a local vending company. This allowed the company to focus on one thing – coffee.
Hardworking dedicated employees consist of:
- Bob Grimsley, President
- Lora Grimsley, Vice President
- Jeanette Ickes, Office Manager
- Diane Coobattis, Office Employee
- Nancy Yates, Warehouse Employee
- Jr Grimsley, Lead Technician
- Charles Oliver, Account Representative
- Don Welch Jr., Account Representative
- Eugene Huddleston, Account Representative
Today, K & M Coffee stocks 16 roaster's products, offering a large choice of coffees, cappuccinos, teas, gourmet coffees and offers more than 400 allied products, including cream, sugar, hot chocolate, soups, water, pop, cups, lids, kitchen and bathroom supplies.
According to Grimsley, K & M Coffee has more than doubled its customer base, has taken on more warehouse space and added new technology. "We've added new computers to office and equipment both office and in the field to ensure that we keep up with supply and demand."
Grimsley added that K & M Coffee has purchased Snack Time Goodies Akron, Qualify Coffee Canton, Country Coffee Brewster, and coffee Express New Philadelphia over the years. "We are currently looking at another company," said Grimsley, "We are a lone-stop-shop providing exactly what our customers want, they ask for it and they get it."
Looking back, in 1968 K & M Coffee was selling a cup of coffee for as little as 5 cents per cup. Now, after 50 years in business, the company is selling coffee for 6 cents per cup. The more things change, the more things stay the same.