When COVID-19 hit and the U.S. workforce had to work from home, it meant less foot traffic for coffee shops and an increase in online orders and other options for coffee brewing at home.

Gallia, Ohio-based Silver Bridge Coffee Company has been impacted by these trends. With quality coffee and a variety of options for at-home brewing, the consumers bought more from Silver Bridge, which meant the company needed to expand significantly and do so quickly.

Planning for Over 2x the Growth

Silver Bridge Coffee Company is a woman-owned and family supported business that imports fine fair trade and organic coffee from around the world and sells to major grocery chains, independent grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries throughout Ohio and the U.S. They also offer single-serve pod options to be used in Keurig style brewers and ship coffee all over the U.S. via its website.

As orders for Silver Bridge’s coffee climbed, the company outgrew its present facility.

According to Lorraine Walker, the president of Silver Bridge, the company needed about 2 1/2 times the space of its current facility to meet demand. The company recently expanded its building but required additional machinery and equipment to ramp up production to match demand. The challenge for Silver Bridge was that much of its available capital was already invested in the building expansion.

An Ohio economic development team composed of JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation, its regional partner Ohio Southeast Economic Development Corporation (Ohio SE), and Gallia County worked with Silver Bridge to offer a JobsOhio Inclusion Grant (JOIG).

Help for A Woman-Owned, Southeast Ohio Business

Created in July 2020 as part of JobsOhio’s COVID relief programming, the JOIG provides targeted funding for small- and medium-sized businesses in distressed areas – areas defined as those which have not recovered from the last economic recession in 2008 – or businesses owned by underrepresented population groups, including women. Silver Bridge is woman owned and located in a distressed area, which meant it qualified for the grant.

The JOIG is part of JobsOhio’s larger efforts to boost opportunities for underrepresented populations and communities facing economic hardships. When all of Ohio can grow and thrive, the state’s economy can recover quicker from the pandemic and stay strong into the future.

Using the JOIG, Silver Bridge will invest in needed machinery and equipment to fill the larger space and produce more coffee to meet the demand. The growth will allow the company to add jobs and continue to push its product out to new markets, placing its products in more retail locations and growing its e-commerce footprint.