During our 16 years of doing business, from our early retail days to our current wholesale roasting and specialty beverage distribution, we have been fortunate to have a great team of people to work with. Many of our team members, both current and past, are great friends of me and Stockton Graham.
I wanted to share a story from a family that has been with us since the beginning; the struggles and the outstanding way they are confronting those struggles head on. Stockton Graham and I feel honored to be able to assist their work in a small way. My nature is to shy away from publicity and avoid drawing attention to our community support efforts and do them from the heart and for the cause, not for a PR notice. However, in this instance I wanted to draw attention to the tremendous efforts this organization makes and the positive impact it has on so many, especially since it’s so close to me personally and the history of our company.
First let me share a bit of history and background to this story to help you understand what it means to me and Stockton Graham. I was first introduced to the Shuttlesworth family when Nathan Shuttlesworth and his friend Blair would ride their bikes to our first coffee shop Raleigh. They were 14 at the time and they’d bike up to the coffee shop to hang out every day after school. Having limited allowances, buying things at the coffee shop would add up and we enlisted them to help work in the store (trash, sweeping, etc) in exchange for coffee and day old pastries. A great deal for us, but one that did not last!
Eventually as our coffee shop became busier, with their parents’ permission, we actually put them on the payroll as some of our first employees. After school and on weekends they learned how to become baristas and general coffee employees. Nathan recruited his sister, Rebecca, who at the time was a freshman in college, to work in our shop during semester breaks and in the summer which she did until she graduated a few years later. Even their mother, Marian, would help out watching the store and keeping an eye on the alarm when we traveled to trade shows, etc.
During the years, as we watched both Nathan and Rebecca grow up from teenagers and young adults, finish school and start careers. Through Rebecca, I also became friends with her husband Joe.
Rebecca and Joe were blessed the birth of a second child, a daughter named Caroline, on October 30, 2009. Shortly after her birth, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that primarily impacts the lungs and pancreas leading to severe lung infections and reduced ability to absorb fats that, taken together, substantially reduce life expectancy.
Rebecca and Joe discovered a wonderful organization (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; www.cff.org) that offered them a lot of assistance to help understand and find the best treatments for their daughter. To do their part to help this organization, in April, they formed “Team Caroline” for the CF Extreme Hike for a Cure in Western NC. See for more details of the hike and their personal message:
To assist in these efforts, Stockton Graham & Co. is a proud sponsor of the Hike Breakfast donating cash and coffee for the hikers, volunteers and supporters. While its not a headline grabbing donation, it should help in the success of the fundraising and is a small thank you to a family that has been such a big part of our own success and our lives the past 16 years.
I would encourage all of our customers and friends to help support Cystic Fibrosis or other causes that are close to your and your employees’ hearts. Through many small efforts and contributions, we can tackle these tough challenges that life throws at us and to continue building a community network.
Stockton Graham & Co.