Tuesday at Ten: Fire Roasted Coffee Company

Fire Roasted Coffee Company
Fire Roasted Coffee Company
Nov 05, 2013

We had the pleasure of speaking with London employer Dave Cook during our November Tuesdays at Ten Q&A session on November 5, 2013.  Dave Cook is President of Fire Roasted Coffee Company, Habitual Chocolate and Farmers’ and Artisans’ Markets Inc. Fire Roasted Coffee has several locations in London, Ontario.  

Dave has partnered with Hutton House, one of our Partners in Employment, and they provide complete support on an ongoing basis. There’s no charge to work with our Partners in Employment and many benefits; including remaining competitive in today’s market. Joining us during our conversation from Hutton House were Joe Gansevles, Employment Specialist and Karen Steinmann, Manager of Employment & Training.

We believe a community has to be inclusive of all our members.

Dave photographed drinking a cup of Fire Roasted Coffee at the Western Fair Farmers and Artistans market with a variety of produce behind him.

Dave Cook, President Fire Roasted Coffee Company, Habitual Chocolate & Farmers’ and Artisans’ Markets Inc.

Twitter Transcript: 

Ability First: Your business ventures have been getting lots of attention. Can you tell us more about your business?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : We are a diversified local food company which operates a coffee, chocolate and Farmers Market Business.

Ability First: How long has @fireroastedcafe been in business?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : We have been in business since 2006 and just starting to figure it out…lol (laugh out loud).

Ability First: You definitely keep gaining momentum! How many employees do you currently have?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : Well it’s almost unbelievable to me but we are up to 36 now.

Ability First: That’s fantastic to hear. Did you have any prior experience working with people with disabilities?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : Yes, through my career I have worked with many people with disabilities and I think that early experience was important.

Ability First: How did that experience help shape your current outlook?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : I realized that all are equal; it’s whether you can complete the required tasks. Everyone brings something unique.

Ability First: What were your initial feelings at first on hiring someone with a disability?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : I thought it was great thing and was interested in seeing how our staff and customers felt about it.

Ability First: Why did you decide to hire someone with a disability?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : Joe from @HuttonHouseLdn had been meeting with Patrick Dunham, our lead roaster at the time, and we had suitable positions come up so the timing was great!

Ability First: Can you describe some of the positions filled?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee : One position that was filled was a barista position that was responsible for service, brewing and taking cash. Another position was maintenance for the @WFFarmerMkt for general upkeep and cleaning.

Ability First: These positions were job carved. Can you explain more about this Hutton House?

Hutton House

Hutton House: Job carving is customized job placement. The employers needs are reviewed to create a new and/or specific job. Job carving addresses bottlenecks, special project needs and frees up experienced staff to make them more efficient.

Ability First: How did you go about finding the right person for the job?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Joe from @HuttonHouseLdn was exceptional for finding the right candidates for us. They are some of our best workers.

Hutton House: Finding the right person for the job hinges on the right employer as well as strong communication between employer, employee and the support agency. ~Joe

Ability First: It sounds like these employees have worked out very well for you! Care to elaborate?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Have met few employees as passionate and caring about great outcomes than these people. SO GREAT!

Ability First: And when it comes to common myths that come to mind when people think about hiring those with disabilities?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Myths – special job tasks that don’t matter, customers don’t want to be served by them or that we are doing them a favour.

Ability First: These myths are being dispelled by employers like yourself! It starts with one but takes many.

Hutton House

Hutton House: We couldn’t agree more! ~Karen

Ability First: Were there any preconceptions you had about employing someone with a disability?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: None. I was exposed early in my career to working with diverse types of people. This is important to our youth.

Hutton House

Hutton House : Inclusiveness is a win-win. It leads to long term benefits for communities. ~Karen

Ability First: The main thing you wanted to ensure was that the candidates were a fit for the positions you were hiring for, correct?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: That’s right and we nailed it with @HuttonHouseLdn. Have there been occasional bumps? Sure, but we overcame them.

Hutton House

Hutton House: You’ve always been ready to do what it takes to bring out the ability of individuals. ~Joe

Ability First: How has @HuttonHouseLdn worked with you to overcome these occasional bumps?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: We met with the employee and Joe from @HuttonHouseLdn, discussed the issues and made a new path. It was good for the employee to have support from all sides and know that we wanted their success.

Ability First: You have said, “It has validated our beliefs that everyone is equal you just have to match skills and job requirements”. That is such an important outlook & one that @HuttonHouseLdn has been so great at assisting with.

Hutton House

Hutton House: We completely agree, it’s all about the right fit. ~Karen

Ability First: Have you ever faced any of your own personal barriers?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: At the height of my corporate career I developed an anxiety/panic disorder. It was life altering but took me on a new positive path.

Ability First: Do you believe these barriers have helped you to have a more open outlook on hiring for Ability First?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: It gave me personal and intimate understanding of mental health and how it can affect all of us.

Ability First: Well said! Many of us that have been in the same position & if we use our personal experience we help others grow (as well as ourselves). What is your advice for potential employers?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Hire away! You will find a community of committed individuals that are looking to make a difference and contribute.

Ability First: What did Dave do as an employer to make these placements successful?

Hutton House

Hutton House: He was open to new ideas to solve real business needs. Dave gave individuals a chance, as well as welcomed our support & expertise.

Ability First: What support has @HuttonHouseLdn provided you with on an ongoing basis?

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Regular meetings to assist with performance reviews and assistance for job coaching and mentorship.

Hutton House

Hutton House: There is always great coffee at the meetings! ~Joe

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: Always a benefit!

Ability First: Dave, we really appreciate you sharing your experience hiring for #AbilityFirst. Thank you!

Fire Roasted Coffee

Fire Roasted Coffee: My pleasure, thank you.

Ability First: Thank you for joining us from Hutton House Joe and Karen!

Hutton House

Hutton House : Thanks so much for the chat! A pleasure to be a part of!

Ability First: Please support businesses that hire for #AbilityFirst in #LdnOnt like @FireRoastedCafe. They are creating an inclusive & vibrant community.

Hutton House