Flori, Christian and Stephen recently took Mercanta to the third International World Coffee Congress, a three day event in Guatemala City where we decided to run an exhibition booth.
The World Coffee Congress was an unusual event for us to exhibit at in a sense, since it was not at all customer sales orientated. Rather, it offered us an ideal opportunity both to meet virtually all the growers who we have been working with in Guatemala for many years now and to showcase our business model. We designed a Mercanta Origin Partners pamphlet which explains our very real and direct partnerships with our Guatemala growers and tells some of their stories. This pamphlet is available to customers who are buying Guatemalan coffee – in limited quantities so please let us know if you would like one.
All our origin partners came along to see us at the booth and although unfortunately we did not have time for farm visits, we did manage to spend time with all the key producers that we work with in Guatemala.
Additionally, we had the opportunity to showcase Mercanta in front of a global audience of key opinion formers and leaders. Mercanta may be a specialised, niche business, but we represent a way of doing business that benefits both growers and consumers alike – a model that is scaleable to many times its current size without any compromise on the essence of the way that we do business.
The show wrapped up in grand style with a visit from the Presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador, Alvaro Colom and Mauricio Funes, who stopped at the Mercanta stand during their rounds of the exhibition hall on the last day. The photo appearing in Guatemala’s main national newspaper the following day was from our stand: scroll to the bottom of page five – www.prensalibre.com/pl/2010/marzo/01/PDFs/PLMT01032010.pdf
Our friend Steve Leighton from Has Bean coffee had kindly prepared some roasted samples for the show. We had the honour to present Guatemala Antigua Santa Clara, Guatemala Amatitlan El Bosque and El Salvador Finca La Fany to the respective presidents when they called at the booth (see photo gallery below).
It was a very successful event, hardly ‘typical’, but I believe it presented the ideal opportunity to show how Mercanta has carved out a specialised way of doing business in the face of competition from far better known business models.
I would like to congratulate Flori and Christian for their excellent efforts in bringing the event together with a very handsome booth. Thanks also to all our producer friends from Guatemala who visited and spent time with us at the show. We will take more time in future to do the farm tours.