Drew Field
Direct Public Offerings
Case StudiesThanksgiving Coffee Company, Inc.

Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Inc.

Paul and Joan Katzeff came out from New York City to the relative wilderness of Mendocino County, California. Since 1972, they have operated Thanksgiving Coffee Company, in the coastal town of Ft. Bragg. Starting out by buying and roasting arabica coffee beans for local restaurants and inns, they gradually expanded into sales through markets and a catalog mail order business.

Thanksgiving Coffee added coffee-making and coffee-related products and started a Royal Gardens Tea Company division. Over the years, greater awareness was created for the way coffee beans are grown and marketed. Adopting the motto, "Not Just a Cup . . . But a Just Cup," Paul and Joan have developed green coffee buying programs to benefit the independent growers and pickers in Central America, and to buy coffee grown organically.

Three overlapping affinity groups were the prospects for the company's shares: customers, neighbors and believers in Thanksgiving Coffee's social responsibility business practices. Announcements of the offering were placed on customers' coffee bags and in-store bean dispensers. They were mailed to mail-order customers and vendors. Printed announcements were carried in targeted magazines, newspapers and the company's catalog. Thanksgiving Coffee's website had a "tombstone."

Even with all its affinity groups, there simply weren't enough people to allow the offering to just sell on the numbers. The total number of prospects was small enough that it was still necessary to get the interested ones to take action. As Thanksgiving's General Manager, Rick Moon, told Inc. Magazine, "you have to put the offering in front of potential investors' faces seven times to get them to take action." Taking the extra effort did the job and Thanksgiving completed its offering.