The first sip of coffee in the morning means a lot: it’s part of a waking-up routine, but it’s also a way to connect. Locally-headquartered Rooted Grounds Coffee Company began in 2015 with a dream to create fresh, affordable coffee roasts that were rooted in the community.
“From the start, we wanted to create coffees that were going to the commercial setting, but tasted like craft coffee-shop coffee,” says Patsy Knopf, co-founder and chief executive officer of Rooted Grounds.
Their commitment to giving back began when they partnered with the Bengals and the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, donating part of their proceeds to support underprivileged students in the Cincinnati area.
“Those early experiences formed our foundation. We realized that people like to do business with companies that care,” says Kris Chari, executive vice president at Rooted Grounds. “We're a for-profit entity, but we believe we can do good in every community we serve.”
Continuing their passion for education, Rooted Grounds created the Readers Roast as a partnership with the Columbus-based 2nd and 7 Foundation. This organization focuses on providing “free books and positive role models” to second graders in schools all around the country, fostering a love of reading and offering access to reading materials. They partner with groups of athletes who read with children to promote the importance of literacy.
With some clients, like the various hospital networks that serve Rooted Grounds’ brews, they realized that the business itself had a charitable foundation or an area of passion where they could do good.
In their six years of operation, Rooted Grounds has been able to partner with more than a dozen philanthropies, from hospital foundations like the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation to direct aid like Oxford Food Bank. They’ve also partnered with the West Chester Hospital Golf Outing, Mason City Schools and even national charities like the American Red Cross.
This breadth of local outreach extends the feeling of connection to community to everyone involved in businesses that serve Rooted Grounds blends.
“Many of the hospital network foundations always have a gala or a golf outing which every employee might not be able to attend, but everyone can drink a cup of coffee,” says Kris. “It became an employee engagement initiative, not just a giveback. EVS [Environmental Services] workers and third shift x-ray technicians were able to drink the coffee and have an impact on neighbors right there in their community.”
In addition to literacy, they see a wider vision of improving communities and supporting them with the proceeds from their lovingly-crafted coffee. They poured their energy into being a diverse workplace with strong representation at all levels as they pursued and received the highly regarded Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certification as a women-owned and operated business.
Rooted Grounds holds themselves to high standards in every arena: they want to offer competitive commercial pricing while delivering a craft-level coffee product and still make giving back a cornerstone of their work. They’ve even visited some of the farms that provide the green coffee beans to them before roasting happens at their facility.
“We have gone to three farmers in Costa Rica, and we got to see how they do it, and how the process went. They really take care of their employees, which was good to know. It's great that these suppliers actually care!” Patsy shares.
Rooted Grounds makes the process of purchasing commercial coffee unique and personalized for their clients.
“We use our tasting room to help clients make their own blend. They try coffees from different origins and potential blend mixtures to find the perfect one for them,” says Patsy.
You can find Rooted Grounds coffee in many places in our community: from the sidelines of local charitable road races, to a cup of Readers Roast at your local UDF. Rooted Grounds is working to grow their impact on local communities while getting excellent cups of coffee into your hands at the same time. RGCoffee.com