A passion for roasting coffee enables a firefighter to help fellow first responders

Editor’s note: Here’s the story of how Luke
Schneider–a firefighter, paramedic and business owner–used
technology to grow his coffee business and share his passion with
others, while also giving back to his community. Learn more about
Grow with Google–our initiative to help create economic
opportunities for all Americans–here, and hear more about how we
are supporting First Responders Day
here

Like so many Americans, seeing the heroic efforts of first
responders in the aftermath of September 11th struck a chord with
me. Their willingness to put their own lives in danger to save
others, their tireless efforts over the following weeks and months,
and their dedication to each other inspired me to become a
firefighter myself.

The life of a firefighter can be stressful, and no single day is
the same. But I always felt like a part of a family, especially
when we gathered around for one consistent ritual: brewing a pot of
coffee to get us through long shifts. That comforting, communal
feeling was something I always cherished.

My wife Kate and I decided to start roasting coffee for our
friends and family. This shared passion drove us to start our own
business: Fire Dept.
Coffee
.

Like many small businesses, the beginning wasn’t easy. We
didn’t know a lot about marketing and building a brand. But
things really took off about two years ago, when we took our store
online and started using Google My Business. Our
online reviews helped more people find our website, and now almost
100 percent of our sales are online. We’ve also doubled our
production in the past 12 months, and we currently employ seven
people–half of them former firefighters or veterans
themselves.  

As our business grew, we wanted to do more for the community
that had given us so much. After meeting Damien Pereira—a
firefighter who was told he would never walk again after a serious
spinal injury in the line of duty—we’re starting the Fire Dept.
Coffee Foundation. We’ll donate 10 percent of our proceeds to
supporting injured firefighters, first responders and their
families.

With Fire Dept. Coffee, I want to continue to serve great
tasting coffee to hard working people. But my highest honor is that
our business growth allows us to give back to the ones who devote
their lives to helping others.

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
A passion for roasting coffee enables a firefighter to help fellow first responders