We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Walters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Being an entrepreneur, risk is a necessity, however, it is almost always calculated before jumping into it. With Camacho Coffee, for example, we’re currently building out a new space to expand our operations and give people a place to come and experience what we’re doing. It’s not cheap, and we had to take out loans to see it through, but before signing that lease I knew exactly how much business we have to do to keep the doors open. From there, I examine if it’s possible to do and then take the “risk.” That being said, there was one pivot-able point in my career that was not calculated, but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. Camacho Coffee was six months old and I had a full time job. The business was growing and getting to a point where I couldn’t do either job well. They were both pulling me in different directions and I couldn’t keep up. I left a salary and benefits for nothing and longer work hours to see Camacho through. I came to a point in my life where I saw a future for this business and I wasn’t ready for it to die, so I sacrificed other things to make it happen. In any other situation, it wouldn’t have made sense. From that point, when my full attention was to Camacho, our sales grew 250% that year, and I haven’t looked back.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Camacho Coffee is a charitable, craft coffee roastery based in Columbia, MO. We wholesale to cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, churches and offices to help them be more productive, as well as online coffee subscriptions. What makes us different is that we air roast our beans instead of the traditional drum roasting like most others. You’ll notice that it creates a much smoother, less acidic taste without the bitterness that you can usually experience with coffee. We have many testimonies saying it has allowed people with inflammation and acid flux issues to drink coffee again. On top of that, we made it our mission to donate a portion of our profits back to nonprofits and charities in the communities we serve. What I’m most proud of is that the whole reason we started this business is because I was trying to help my wife. Her doctor had her quit drinking coffee due to inflammation issues, and I wanted to fix that. After a lot of research, and trial and error, I was able to roast coffee in our home that tasted good and allowed her to drink coffee again. I started handing it out to people to get their opinion as well, and they started buying it, which started the business. We got to where we are today by working our butts off, and a lot of prayer! It was not easy. The sales didn’t just start coming in, especially since we didn’t have any retails space open to the public. Every client we got in the first two years was by knocking on their door and giving out samples. While I consider our company to be a fast growing business, it was definitely an uphill battle. You have to believe in your product or service. One of the largest lessons I’ve learned along the way is that you can’t take every opportunity that arises. There were a few times where a building came up for rent, or we could invest a little money in this area that looked too good to be true, but in hindsight it would have been a huge mistake if we committed to them. Know where you’re headed and what you want your business to stand for, and don’t get distracted. If the world could know one thing about our business, I would want them to know that we literally started it out of love to help other people, my wife directly in the beginning, and then to give to the communities we serve. We had no idea it would grow into what it is now in only three years. The product sells itself. Try our coffee, and taste the difference. We know you’ll like it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we had a week, a lot of it would be filled with exploring around the area. Columbia is full of parks and trails, and I haven’t come close to seeing all of it. Next, I would take them to Broadway Brewery. They have amazing food and beer. They even collaborate with us on a coffee stout every year that’s a big hit! I would then introduce them to a lot of the people I work alongside with in the community, such as the brewery for the brewery, other business owners we provide coffee to, and some of the mover’s and shakers in town that have helped me tremendously over the years. Lastly, I couldn’t forget the family farm I grew up on. It’s 25 minutes down the road with tons of stuff to do, including an outdoor event space my family built that my wife and I got married at!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people that I can give a shoutout to for the success I’ve experienced in my life, but the one I have to mention is my wife, Megan. She pushes and challenges me in ways no one else does, and Camacho Coffee wouldn’t be where it is today without that. She’s an incredibly hard worker as the other founder of our business while also operating and growing her real estate career. I admire the work she does and the ways she takes on challenges. I would’ve made some really stupid decisions if I didn’t have her input. Some others I’d like to thank are my parents, Jim and Jackie and them exposing me to entrepreneurship at a young age, our other partner, Brad Newkirk, for his confidence in us, his friendship, experience, and guidance as we grow, and Jim Gann for numerous pieces of advice and introducing us tons of people that have helped us along the way.
1. Keith Borgmeyer Photography 2. Columbia Marketing Group