Seattle’s Pot O’ Gold chronicles office coffee service rebound in a new video

Nov. 19, 2021

While the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 hammered most operators in convenience services, no sector was impacted harder than office coffee and pantry providers. In fact, sales for many OCS operators were down as much as 70% last year, but those serving high-tech and white-collar markets ­ where employees were able to vacate their offices to work full time at home ­ were hit even harder.

Serving the Seattle area, Bellevue, WA’s Pot O’ Gold Coffee Service was one of those hard-hit OCS providers. “At one point, our sales were down 80%,” said company vice-president Blake Jones. However, the OCS operation is now making a steady comeback, recapturing close to 70% of 2019’s pre-pandemic sales level in the third quarter of 2021.

Pot O’ Gold just released a video celebrating the revival and detailing how the company’s services and gourmet and high-tech coffee options can help other businesses.

“Right now, compared with our pre-COVID benchmarks, I would say we are down 30% to 40%, depending on the day, but our sales are growing daily,” Jones said. “And we are getting a ton of new accounts each month.

Jones told that Pot ‘O Gold has more installed equipment and active accounts since its founding in 1986. “We are just waiting for more of our customers’ employees to return to the office,” said Jones, who expects that to happen in the first quarter of 2022. 

Shortly after the novel coronavirus was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, shutting down offices across the nation, Pot O’ Gold had to let go most of its 20 employees. Almost 20 months later, amazingly, all the OCS company’s employees have returned.

“We called each of our employees back, and they all decided to,” Jones said. “This was very cool to see because we know many companies are having a hard time getting their employees to come back. Most were making more money on unemployment, so a lot of businesses had trouble finding help.”

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with Pot O’ Gold. And the company will likely be hiring more people to keep up with demand.

Things are looking good for Pot ‘O Gold, and has is hearing similar stories of success from other OCS operators. Unfortunately, the overall industry recovery is being hindered by severe supply chain snarls. Pot ‘O Gold reports shortages of coffee products not directly sourced from the manufacturer.

“For example, when I need to get coffee through a third-party shipper, I am having a hard time getting the product in time,” Jones said. “Same goes for the powdered product for our bean-to-cup brewers. We are also experiencing issues with manufacturing and shipping delays on coffee equipment, especially bean-to-cup equipment manufactured outside of the country.”

But with Seattle being the coffee capital of America, sourcing locally roasted coffee is not a problem for Pot O’ Gold. “We try to carry Seattle-based roasters mostly, Jones said. “I haven’t run into issues with these local roasters because our office is so close to them and I also don’t mind just driving to their location to pick up product if we are in a pinch.”

Click here to see Pot O’ Gold’s comeback video, narrated by Blake Jones and company founder Larry Jones.

About the Author

Nick Montano

Contributing editor Nick Montano is passionate about covering news in the vending, office coffee service and micro market industry. He brings more than two decades’ experience to AM and VMW as a business journalist. His industry roots go way back; his first jobs were managing the stockroom of a full-line vending company and filling in for vacationing route drivers during his high school summer breaks. 


Autm 0921 Soci 1

Automatic Merchandiser's State of the Office Coffee Industry report shows 2020 sales down 75%

Sept. 15, 2021
As the federal and state governments imposed strict shelter-at-home orders for nonessential workers last year, office refreshment services abruptly came to a standstill
Pot O' Gold Coffee Service
Blake Jones of Pot O' Gold Coffee Service
Coffee Service

Five Questions With Blake Jones, Sales & Marketing At Pot O' Gold Coffee Service

Sept. 18, 2019
Blake Jones, who works in sales and marketing at Pot O' Gold Coffee Service just outside of Seattle in Bellevue, WA, watched his father grow the family business to what is now...