Small Town Coffee Roaster Engages Big Time with Social Media

Shelby Mulligan    June 18, 2014

Grounded Logo

 Organization Name: Grounded Coffee Company Inc.

Industry: Retail, Service

Name of Contact: Nicole DiPinto, Scott Campbell

Grounded Coffee Company in Midland, ON serves the freshest coffee in town.  A bold Grounded Coffee Co. Signstatement, maybe, but one that’s hard to dispute, mainly because of the Probat professional coffee bean roaster located on-site, in the cafe and the burlap bags filled with fair-trade, organic green coffee beans. Grounded also serves soups, salads, sandwiches and fresh baked treats made with 100% organic ingredients that are sourced locally, whenever possible, to go with that cup of freshly roasted java. Husband-wife owners Scott Campbell and Nicole Di Pinto are the roaster and main baker respectively ( Nicole has help with the baking now),  and they use social media consistently, not only to engage and inform their customers but also as a tool that can guide them in the development of their products and services.

Nicole posts a picture on Grounded Coffee Company Inc.’s Facebook page pretty much every day, either of something just out of the oven that morning, the daily lunch special or a pic of a custom coffee blend that Scott’s created (like Georgian Bay AAA) and the high level of engagement her posts receive – of customers liking, commenting and sharing – baffles her a bit when I first ask why she thinks it’s so.  But then she says, “It’s got to be the really good product, the fact that Scott is so passionate about the coffee and roasting. Coffee’s a big thing for people and they get to feel connected to it here.”

Quinoa Cupcakes

Beet Soup Made With Local Beets

In addition to sourcing their coffee beans ethically from fair trade producers and small independent farms, Grounded Coffee Company via their Facebook and Instagram pages is a champion of all things local and a source of information as to where the producers and suppliers of fresh ingredients are in the community.  Grounded gets the milk it uses from a local dairy, meats and vegetables from local farmers and sources everything that’s possible locally. Because of social media, Grounded’s customers are given the opportunity to connect with the local farmers and producers that supply the restaurant.  Posts and pictures on Facebook are tagged with the supplier’s Facebook fan page:  for example “these carrots came from Williams Family Farm.” After listening to this podcast on community engagement on Facebook, it became clear to me that Grounded Coffee Company is employing many of the suggested techniques without even knowing it!  The layer of transparency they’ve created between themselves, their suppliers and their customers, resonates not just with those customers, it forms alliances with the farmers and producers and it extends Grounded’s reach further into the community and beyond.  Their extended reach and increased exposure has led to “the wholesale roasting aspect of the business really picking up.” Grounded Coffee Company now supplies beans to some of it’s farmer/producer’s on-site stores, restaurants and grocery stores. Scott also roasts custom blends for local tourist attractions like Port McNicholl’s SS Keewatin and the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry in Owen Sound.Custom blends for our friends at the S. S. Keewatin. Put into service in 1907, The Keewatin is the last surviving Steam Ship from the Edwardian Era.

Nicole is tuned in to current health trends and her customer’s requests and, not surprisingly, in many cases, the two are the same.  At this point Grounded regularly makes gluten free and vegan food selections. Nicole’s posts on Instagram use hashtags like #glutenfree ,  #vegan and  #nonGMO where appropriate.  Consequently, her regular customers (and some new ones too…check out Grounded Coffee Co. on Trip Advisor) become willing and excited brand ambassadors that engage with the company on social media and help to spread the word about this “groovy little coffee place in Midland.”

Lessons for Others:   Be passionate about your work, genuinely care about and listen to your customers and maintain a high level of honesty and transparency in your organization.  Because of it, your business will thrive and you’ll be happy.


Submitted By: Shelby MulliganUniversity of Waterloo

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Web References:

Social Media Examiner

Australian Businesswoman’s Network

ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business Podcast