North Chicago Business Success Story
May 15, 2019
Paul & Carrie Masek, Entrepreneurs Coffee Fresh
North Chicago Business Success Story

Coffee By The Roast is the retail website of Coffee Fresh, Inc, where you can buy fresh coffee online. Customized and individual, choose your coffee, choose your roast level, and get the coffee you want, fresh roasted in small batches and shipped to your door.  

Paul Masek started in the coffee industry in 1972 when he got a job in a local coffee shop / roaster. He came to appreciate good coffee and learned the intricacies of selecting and roasting green coffee beans.  

College led to a career in software engineering and project management, which in turn led to business school and an MBA from the University of Chicago. After over a decade in management consulting, operations design and business turn-around, Paul decided to apply his expertise to create his own business and began researching local opportunities.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, there were no quality coffee roasters between the cities of Chicago and Milwaukee. Paul realized there was strong demand for high quality coffee in Chicago's North Shore, demand that was not being met at that time. Starting with his early education in the coffee business, and applying the business principles he'd used as a consultant, he launched Coffee Fresh, Inc. in 2003.”

“Coffee Fresh, Inc. has been custom roasting coffee in North Chicago, IL, since 2003. In 2015, Paul and Carrie met David Weil of ReNew Communities. At that time, Coffee Fresh had a loyal wholesale customer base and were hoping to become an online provider of custom roasted coffee for the retail market.  Paul and Carrie had the coffee expertise, but lacked knowledge and experience in online marketing and digital retailing. David and ReNew Communities connected Paul and Carrie with a team of mentors (including John Barth and Steve Alley), to guide them into the new world of online marketing, Google Analytics and the intricacies of SEO. With the help, a new website and online store for the retail brand, Coffee by the Roast we was created .

Three years later, nearly 40% of sales are retail, and retail business is growing at an annual rate of 25%. The mentors from ReNew Communities continue their work, acting as an informal board of directors to help Coffee by the Roast succeed in the digital age.”

Host: John Barth