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Owner's Corner: Larry's Coffee

Ed. Note: This the first blog in our new series, The Owner's Corner, which focuses on small business owners and the good stuff they're doing. This was originally posted over at thebilli.org.


When Larry Larson headed to the Southeast to attend graduate school, he already had a fascination with coffee from his youth in the northeast. Eventually, his love of coffee lead him further and further from his studies, first working as a roaster in Raleigh's first coffee house and then starting his own coffee house and roastery.


The roastery Larson established, the eponymously-named Larry’s Coffee, has been a Raleigh, NC institution since the mid-1990’s, churning out some of the most inventive, and tasty coffee available in the United States. But what makes Larry’s Coffee so special isn’t just the great coffee, but the company’s enormous commitment to sustainability and social and ecological justice. To date, Larry’s Coffee is organic, fair trade, Kosher, and is grown to allow shade trees to birds. In addition to all of that, Larry’s Coffee has been established as an official B Corp, proof of their comprehensive commitment to sustainable business practices available.


"Business shouldn't be a separate mind space where you forget your values and passions. It's a part of life. All the so-called ‘socially responsible’ things we do make our lives more interesting. They lead us to friendships and relationships with great people. It feels good to know you're doing your part to make the world better, not worse. And we always keep in mind that there's more to life than business.” Larry Larson, Founder of Larry’s Coffee

The commitment to sustainability has been there from the beginning, starting with the building of the facility itself. “When started it, he wanted to have a company that took responsibility for the environment and the people involved,” wrote Katie Payne, Sustainability Coordinator at Larry’s Coffee, or email. “Before sustainability was a trending concept, Larry made sure his company embodied it. He began with sustainable building for the facility, and from there the rest became addicting! Now we collect rainwater, we compost and garden, we keep bees, and so many other things!” The company also converted an old school bus to run on vegetable oil. They now collect used vegetable oil from local farmers, and make all local deliveries exclusively with the aptly-named “veggie bus.”


From their humble beginnings in a facility built from sustainable and recycled materials, to their current global operations, Larry’s Coffee has always been committed to fair and just economic practices and business operations that leave the world better than they found it.


Love yourself some humans, and support Larry’s Coffee!