Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included a photo of a different David Blanchard than the one mentioned here. It also identified Tim Skirven and Ali Croft as co-owners of Roaring Pines; they are independent graphic designers.
A 10-year-old Richmond coffee roaster has expanded in the greater D.C. market.
Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. began selling its products in four D.C.-area Wegmans in February, co-owner and President David Blanchard said. Blanchard’s Coffee has also rebranded with a new logo, website and coffee bag design.
“We’ve grown and built a great brand in Richmond,” Blanchard said. “Our big focus this year is the D.C. metropolitan area.”
Blanchard’s is a wholesale coffee roaster based out of a 2,500-square-foot office and warehouse at 700 Bainbridge St. in Manchester. It’s sold in about 80 Richmond locations, including Kroger, Martin’s, Ellwood Thompson’s and a slew of other cafes and restaurants, Blanchard said.
Blanchard said his company reached out to Wegmans when the New York State-based grocer announced in 2014 its plans to open two stores in Richmond.
“They said, ‘Before those Richmond stores come in, why don’t we slot you in our Northern Virginia stores?” Blanchard said.
In the first two weeks, Blanchard said, the four Washington-area Wegmans sold 240 12-ounce bags of Blanchard’s coffee at about $10 each. With the expansion into Wegmans, Blanchard’s is now on the shelves of 25 stores in the Washington area, including Fredericksburg. Blanchard’s also sells in nine Charlotesville stores.
The coffee roaster first poured into greater Washington in 2013 at Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Maryland, a store owned by the same people behind Ellwood Thompson’s in Carytown. And in 2014, Blanchard’s got on the shelves of Washington-area Giant supermarkets, which are operated by the same company that runs Martin’s.
To go with its gambit to attract new customers, Blanchard’s has revamped its marketing with the help of Richmond-based Roaring Pines, owned by Drew Dayberry, along with graphic designers Tim Skirven and Ali Croft. Blanchard said the company needed to rebrand as it goes from being a one-market roaster to a company looking to gain a foothold in bigger markets.
“We sort of used to hang our hat on being Richmond’s local roaster,” he said. “We needed our branding to tell our story when we’re not there to tell it.”
Blanchard said the challenge for the company now is timing an investment to expand operations with company growth. Blanchard said he plans to hire a salesperson to get the word out about Blanchard’s to restaurants and local businesses in the D.C. area. Blanchard’s now has five full-time and four part-time employees.
If Blanchard’s can establish itself in a bigger market like Washington, then other cities could follow.
“We’d like to build a model that works in D.C.,” Blanchard said. “The next big market from there would be Philadelphia.”