Caleb Benoit started Connect Roasters, a mission-focused coffee company, in 2016 after making a couple visits to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The trips exposed him to poverty in developing countries, and he got inspired to create a business that would give back. “My original vision was to build a company that would use coffee as a vehicle to improve people’s lives,” said Caleb. “Through a giveback model that supports efforts like food distribution, I’m proud to say that we are doing that today.”
In May 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Connect Roasters teamed up with Chicago Cubs all-star Ian Happ to create Quarantine Coffee, which supported the COVID relief efforts of Save the Children and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The Food Depository supplies more than 700 of Cook County’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. As of June 2022, Connect Roasters has funded more than 27,000 meals through their network.
In February 2022, Caleb received a small business line of credit from Allies for Community Business, which helped supply his inventory. “Because coffee is a crop, and crops are seasonal, we purchase much of our unroasted coffee inventory around the same time each year,” Caleb said. “That creates a bit of a cash flow crunch, so having a line of credit available to us makes purchasing high-quality coffees a lot easier!”
Today, Caleb employs a team of four who are committed to Connect Roasters’ giveback mission. Currently, they are working with Save the Children to feature their coffee in their annual holiday gift catalog to encourage donations to the organization.
Connect Roasters conducts sales primarily through their website, wholesale, and events, but Caleb hopes to expand the ways his coffee reaches consumers by opening a brick-and-mortar café.