Tricia Zimmer Ferguson took Kaldi’s Coffee from a niche brand to a national player Featured

1:24pm EDT July 5, 2011
Tricia Zimmer Ferguson took Kaldi’s Coffee from a niche brand to a national player

When Suzanne Langlois and Howard Lerner, founders of Kaldi’s Coffee, sold the business a few years ago, they knew Tricia Zimmer Ferguson was the right person to take over the business. Ferguson, president of the specialty coffee retailer and wholesaler, inspires people to work hard, work smart and work at what they love.

Like many founders, Langlois and Lerner were better at the creative side of the business than the operational side, and Ferguson realized that. She saw Kaldi’s as an opportunity to take a niche brand and make it one of the leading specialty coffee companies in the nation.

To make that dream a reality, she had to make several changes to how the business had been running. Instead of flying by the seat of her pants, she hunkered down and wrote out policies and procedures, wrote a new employee manual, tweaked product margins and came up with improved offerings, found new vendors, secured better pricing and service, challenged managers with new responsibilities, asked questions, and educated herself through the whole process.

Her arsenal is vast and she is always putting it to good use. She makes a plan of action for each day and “goes to bed smarter than when I woke up.” What really keeps Ferguson and Kaldi’s growing and exceeding expectations is her drive to find inspiration, challenge and creativity not only in herself but also in the people around her.

She builds relationships and makes connections with her employees, with other local professionals and with customers. Her latest initiative showcases employees’ favorite coffee blends and honors them with a distinct label.

Not surprisingly, Ferguson’s vision for the future of Kaldi’s rests on continual change: looking beyond coffee into the beverage business. But Ferguson’s passion for providing customers exceptional service and a unique, quality beverage will always remain constant.

HOW TO REACH: Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co., (314) 727-9991 or