Kahwa Coffee’s quest to become the top coffee brand in Florida looks a lot closer to becoming reality — $6.5 million closer, actually.
The St. Petersburg-based roaster embarked on an ambitious capital raise earlier this year, and co-founder Raphael Perrier says the effort is “almost done.” Without naming any names, he says the entirety of the support has come from local investors.
“Mostly private individuals — people we’ve known for a long time,” he says. “A couple of celebrities are also coming onboard. We’re a local story and have a lot of good things going on right now, so we think keeping it local will it make it more fun for us, instead of going to New York or wherever [for investment backing].”
Perrier says he and his wife and co-founder, Sarah Perrier, will relinquish “some equity, obviously” as a result of the investment push, but will retain 100% control. They intend to form a board of directors and have been working with Bird Dog Equity Partners, an Atlanta firm that invests in and advises hospitality businesses.
“They come in and look at you from A to Z, advise you and come up with a report that’s sent to potential investors,” says Perrier.
The Perriers, in preparation for the growth, have moved the company to a larger headquarters facility, at 3070 44th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. They’re gearing up to open 30 more company-owned stores and are making plans to begin franchising. They also intend to expand their partnership with Publix that kicked off this year, adding to the number of cafes found inside nine of the Lakeland-based grocer’s stores so far.
“The idea is to become the premier coffee company in Florida," says Perrier, "because the state doesn’t really have one right now."