Working among coffee farmers in Mexico on a post-grad internship, Chris Treter made a life-altering decision. Fusing the ideas of selling coffee and improving conditions for poverty-stricken communities, he went back to the states and took steps to open his own coffee shop. Founded on the motto "People, Planet, Profit", Higher Grounds in Traverse City offers high quality coffee grown by small scale farmers from three different continents. The coffee farmers Chris met on his internship were only able to sell their coffee in small, local markets. By partnering with Chris, they suddenly had a link to a much bigger market and the opportunity to sell much more coffee.
In 2016, Higher Grounds received B Corp certification, meaning they met the non profit's rigorous standards of social and environmental responsibility. It's about transparency, accountability. It sets rules and standards in place to ensure the mission doesn't end with the entrepreneur. All the employees in the company take part in it. B Corp certification is going to be increasingly important in the changing market. Consumers, particularly millennials, are demanding more sustainability and social responsibility from the companies they buy from. There's a push to do more, to give back.
Chris Treter credits community engagement as the main reason for his brand's success. It's the reason the company was started and the driving factor behind the pursuit for B Corp certification. Building better communities by putting people first.