Christi and Ragan Bond, co-founders of Independence Coffee Co. in Brenham, Texas, have been selected as Texas’ Small Business Persons of the Year for 2019. The announcement was made April 23, ahead of National Small Business Week, by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBA has recognized Small Business Persons of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Each year, the SBA celebrates National Small Business Week by recognizing the achievements of outstanding small business owners and entrepreneurs across the United States. All 53 winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C., May 5-6, where they will be honored with their individual award along with special recognition of the three runners-up and the naming of the 2019 National Small Business Person of the Year.
“This is a true honor. Ragan and I really view this as an employee award,” said Christi Bond, co-founder and president. “They really ‘make’ ICC what it is and have since the beginning. We couldn’t do this without them.”
In 2003, Independence Coffee Company (ICC) was founded as a coffee shop and local coffee roaster in Brenham, Texas.
“We are so proud to have started our roasting company in such a wonderful place,” said Ragan Bond, co-founder and VP. “Washington County’s culture, location, friendly business environment and diverse workforce have provided the perfect environment for launching and growing a national brand.”
The Small Business Development Center in Brenham played a critical role in the planning, development and growth of the business.
“I credit the SBDC for saving our company from making a bad decision,” Ragan Bond said. “We had an opportunity to partner with another large company during a major period of growth. The SBDC helped us asses the risk and gave us crucial feedback for decision-making in that moment. In the end, it saved us from losing our business when the partnering company went under.”
ICC has enjoyed steady growth since its humble beginnings roasting coffee in a garage in Brenham’s downtown district. ICC manufactures a fully-diversified product line of coffee, tea and cold brew products and related services. ICC products are both self-distributed and partner-distributed to grocery markets and wholesalers throughout the United States, including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, New York and Maine. Retail partners include H-E-B, Central Market, Hannaford Supermarkets, Uptown/Buy for Less, Whole Foods, Brenham Wholesale and many others. In addition to the grocery segment, ICC supplies food service, offices, cafes and hotels.
The owners’ latest foray into retail is a coffee shop, Black Truck ’48 Coffee and Tea Market, opened in 2018. The shop’s name is a nod to Christi and Ragan’s first coffee delivery truck—1948 black Ford truck. It is located along Highway 290 between Houston and Austin.