You may remember us as For Victory, A Coffee Company (or another name, even). So, what’s changed—and why?
We’ve launched a new name, new website, and new labels. But our quest – to be a stepping stone in the lives of apprentices – has always been the same.
If you currently subscribe to our coffee orders, our selection is the same, and customer service is the same.
And just like always, when you buy our coffee, all proceeds go right back into Victory Mission, so like a water wheel, our nonprofit can keep growing, keep training men & women, and keep changing lives.
OUR ORIGIN STORY
Let’s begin the story of Equip within our nonprofit Victory Mission, of which Equip Coffee is a dependent social enterprise.
Victory Leadership was developing workforce development training for our long-term recovery Restoration Program. There was opportunity within Victory Mission’s Work-Ready Center but we noticed a gap.
We had no opportunities for apprentices seeking skills towards indoor professions such as Data Entry, Accounting, Sales, Counseling…. or anything else.
The solution was born, then-named Victory Coffee Co.
Through packaging and processing each order, apprentices would learn baseline skills such as consistency, patience, and attention to detail. As time progressed, more opportunities to learn complex skills would be presented.
Thanks to generous grant funding, we launched in June 2018.
Victory Coffee’s growth was slow but worthwhile.
Within the first year, our coffee company grew through Victory Mission’s connections to incredible church & business partners. To this day, we are grateful to the ones who were first to say ‘yes’: Jefferson Avenue Baptist, New Life Church, and Drew Lewis Foundation are only a few.
We soon redesigned.
Because of confusion with the already-popular ‘Victory Coffee,’ we also changed our name again: For Victory, A Coffee Company.
With the launch of our second re-branding venture, the social enterprise flourished within the church community. We partnered with local coffee shops, and introduced our infamous ‘sampler,’ a design created in partnership with SMC packaging.
We were hopeful for 2020, and even cited in an Springfield Business Journal article early in the year: “The goal for 2020? Double sales and provide their cup of joe to more businesses.”
COVID-19 tanked this vision. Businesses were not selling coffee. Our numbers dwindled to barely a fraction of our projections.
However, we celebrated! Noah Huskey became our first successful coffee apprentice in June 2020.
He then continued into his dream role as a chaplain apprentice within the Restoration Program. He would soon graduate this very program in the fall.
In Christmas of 2020, we also launched Custom Coffee Labels, which allowed businesses, churches, and individuals to give unique gifts with their own personalized brand. This venture made up over half of our holiday income–and over doubled last year’s Christmas target.
FALL 2021 – THE REBRAND
(5 minute read – A statement from Ashlyn, Equip Coffee Manager)
Do you remember the ‘beautiful all along’ trope from the early 90’s?
The protagonist takes off her glasses, cuts her hair, changes her clothes. The movie expects us to gasp, as though this transformation was a surprise.
But, if we’re being honest: a Hollywood actress was cast for this role. She was always beautiful.
When I first arrived at Victory Mission in June of 2020, I felt the same way about our coffee social enterprise. I’d never so much as seen a 12oz bag.
BUT OUR COFFEE, IT WAS…
- Roasted by a Springfield local with a decade of experience in the coffee industry.
- Sourced consciously, with prices FAR above Fair Trade, all while avoiding unethical (yet common) practices that tend to harm coffee producers.
- Ground then delivered within a day or less.
All the while, this coffee was being used to train some of the most delightful men & women I had ever met.
I had no experience working in recovery ministry before. I didn’t know what to expect–perhaps a sad place to work? Anger and dullness? (I wasn’t prepared for the delightful awakening I received!)
As an example: My first apprentice was a joy-filled man who flew through the hallways with urgency to complete his task. He had a smile that lit up a room and called everyone ‘Miss’ and ‘Mister.’
Near the end of his time as our coffee apprentice, he turned to me at an event, choked up, and said: “A year ago, I was homeless and living under a bridge, wishing I was dead. And look at me now: a family, a home, and incredible opportunities like this.”
That man, within 48 hours, relapsed and left our program over a weekend. I was gutted, and so was his newfound family within Victory Mission’s Restoration Program.
Are you surprised? I was. Recovery ministry is worthwhile, fulfilling, joyful, and so hard. It requires a focus on the ONE–on individuals instead of statistics.
But that’s part of the heart of Victory Mission, and therefore the heart of Equip Coffee:
We share God’s love through intentional relationships for the restoration of a brokenhearted world.
Every life–every single life that walks through our door–has purpose.
We want men & women to leave completely restored. But even if it’s as simple as a week’s worth food, or a session of free counseling, or a few months of workforce development through our coffee company, then it’s worth it to share something so important as love.
Love compels our ministry team to invest in life-long skills for our residents. To ask big questions like: ‘What have you always wanted to do but never felt empowered?’ or ‘How far would you be willing to go if we walked alongside you?’
The heart of our coffee social enterprise was transformative. However, without the proper creative decisions, we were hiding it from you.
There was no language that shared our traceability, (which is the new language used to discuss coffee quality.)
And perhaps there was some tiny text about workforce development.
But even the word ‘coffee’ was so teeny on the logo that you could barely read it.
Unless you knew our coffee social enterprise on a personal level, you had no idea what we sold, who we helped, or why you should care.
Our burning quest with this rebrand was to pull back the curtain on our coffee social enterprise, and reimagine the way we told our story.
As a final note – we’ve been pretty all along.
New clothes and hair has changed very little about the purpose of our enterprise.
Our connection to Victory Mission is the same, our coffee offerings are the same, and our customer service is the same.
WE SIMPLY EQUIP.
WANT TO TRY SOME?
And LET ME CLARIFY one more time. We are not separating from Victory Mission. Our offerings are the same, our mission is the same. We are simply restructuring our creative storytelling to grow for the long haul, to have vision and structure to last for decades to come, that Equip Coffee may impact lives upon lives.