Julian McClurkin: Hey everybody, it’s Julian McClurkin, your Chief Storyteller with Tribevest. Today we're gonna be speaking to Wade Preston. He's the owner and operator of Prevail Coffee. They're a craft coffee maker in the Deep South. Tune in today to find out how the customers are actually a part of his tribe.
Wade, what's up?
Wade Preston: Hey, what's going on?
Julian: We want to get started with talking about you. Where are you from, and what got you started on your investing journey?
Wade: I say that I'm from Alabama because I grew up in Mobile in South Alabama. My family moved right before high school, so I went to high school in Birmingham. I went to college in Auburn.
Julian: What did you study in college?
Wade: That's the joke. I have a philosophy degree, so I had to get really good on an espresso machine, or I was going to starve. I was working in the nonprofit sphere, and I was actually in grad school for nonprofit organizational leadership at a seminary. I'd done some development work in West Africa. [I] really got introduced to, especially coffee, on the heels of being over there. [I] really saw coffee as this opportunity to do a couple of things that I and my wife both really loved and that's to create space for an authentic and diverse community. Also [to] create transparent and equitable supply chains for people in the developing world. Coffee was a way to do both of those things, so we just kind of dropped out of grad school. We put everything else on hold and jumped into starting a coffee company. That was yet almost nine years ago now.
Julian: Wow. Where's the company at today?
Wade: We're tracking for a little over a million dollars in revenue. All told, this year, we have three cafe locations, probably with a fourth coming in the fall. And we have a wholesale coffee roastery that services all those cafe locations as well as some other wholesale accounts, especially grocery stores, things like that.
Julian: Who exactly are your tribe members and what is your tribe doing?
Wade: Our tribe members are our customers at our cafe. Our regular customers are the people that when they walk in the door, we know what their order is, and we start making it for them before they make it to the counter. They're just the folks on the other side of the bar that we know and love. They were already stakeholders in what we were doing. And now they go from just social stakeholders and people that care about us and we care about them to actual financial stakeholders. And our tribe is an investment vehicle in our company, Prevail Coffee. So now they have an opportunity to kind of have a piece of the pie, so to speak.
Julian: That’s cool. You can’t get that at Starbucks! So how did you hear about Tribevest?
Wade: I actually had been kind of searching and kind of groping in the dark for all of these… I like the idea of crowdsourcing. I like the idea of democratizing investment. And we have a community. That's one of our values that we have as we create space for community and that community happens and rallies around us. So, giving an opportunity for those people who are already a part of our community to have ownership of the business itself has always been appealing. But the platforms that are out there never seemed to really scratch my itch for that. They were either too much on the crowdfunding, kind of Kickstarter, side. Or they seemed far too complicated and just a little bit like a scheme. And Tribevest seems so simple. I mean, obviously like investing and putting together businesses and things like that is never entirely simple. But Tribevest made the path as clear as possible to gather a group of people up and say, “Hey, we're going to form this LLC. This LLC is going to make this investment. We're all going to be in this together.” Really, of all the different solutions there could be out there for this kind of crowd-investing, I think Tribevest makes the most sense on a lot of levels.
Julian: Can we talk about your tribe a little bit? How many tribes do you have?
Wade: Just the one tribe right now.
Julian: What’s it called?
Wade: So our moniker, the tagline for our company, is “Together We Prevail.” So our tribe is, Together We Prevail.
Julian: Alright, Wade, if people want to find you, where is a good place that they can go?
Wade: Montgomery, Alabama. Come to Montgomery. You can also visit us in Atlanta and West Midtown. So, be here. Be in a physical space with us.
Julian: Thanks so much. I really do appreciate it, Wade. It was a pleasure meeting you, man.
Wade: Yeah, you as well. Thank y'all so much.
Julian: Next time I'm in Montgomery, I'll be visiting Prevail Coffee. But if you all want to know more about Wade and Prevail, you can go right here. And if you want to learn more about Tribevest, you can go right here. Until next time, I'll see you next tribe.