Its not often you find a company, that was founded by an incredible woman, that still, 28 years later, is run almost entirely by women. However, that is exactly what you will find when you walk through the doors of Door County Coffee. While we are incredibly proud of the products we make, something you don’t often hear us speak on is being a woman-founded company, so we thought, why not take the opportunity, on International Women’s Day, to share all about it! As once said by Mark Anthony - “And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back, because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” And that quote could not describe Vicki and the culture at Door County Coffee more perfectly.
28 years ago, Vicki Wilson was on a trip with her family, to Door County, when she noticed something was missing from the county – gourmet coffee! With a little help from her husband Doug, Door County Coffee was born in 1993. They did the research, made the plans and launched the brand in Forestville, WI, south of Sturgeon Bay! At that time, only women would roast, package, ship and sell the coffee!
A true testament to the company is the employees, some of whom have been here for 27 of the 28 years. Teri Zellmer has been with our company almost since the beginning and has worked in almost every aspect of the company, a true jack of all trades! In the beginning her focus was answering phones, order fulfillment and shipping. They were at 2 people in production in the early years and would roast 2 or 3 times a week. On the days they roasted, she would help bag the 5# bags of coffee and put it away. The days they didn’t roast she would fill and ship orders while the other person packaged full pots. Because the 10 oz bags were formed by hand, they would work on that together. Now she is in the sales department working with grocery and mass distribution!
You can find other employees who have been here 2, 5, 15, 20 years, all staying for the same reason – they believe in the product, and they couldn’t imagine working for anyone else. Erin Hoffman, Director of E-Commerce, has been here for 10 years, and a big part of that is because of Vicki!
” To work for Vicki is inspiring. To see what she has done with this business from the very early, hard days until now, definitely inspires me and gives me the courage to keep working hard, even when things don’t come easy. Secondly, it brings a unique level of understanding. As a working mother and wife, I know that Vicki is in the same shoes as me and truly “understands” what playing all those roles at once means. As a woman, working for a woman, I feel understood and supported.”
Tina Wunning, a Production Assistant Team Lead, has been here for 4 years, and echoed the same thoughts saying - “Vicki is such a great role model for all women thinking of starting a business! I am very proud to work for a company that has grown so much in the past (almost) 30 years!”
Working for a company with a great product and good values can be hard to come by, but working for a company with both of those things and being woman-founded is something here at Door County Coffee we are lucky to have. Coming to work at a place, that has so many amazing women surrounding you, cheering you on to be the best you can be, is an incredible feeling and one we are lucky to get to have. Of the 65 employees, only 12 are male, and while we love them dearly, and we absolutely could not do it without them, there is something so wonderful about being surrounded by awesome women!
Today, you will find women in the café , slinging drinks and making delicious dishes in the kitchen for lunch. In the roasting facility, packaging and shipping fulfillment, you can find women working the many machines, filling orders and getting them shipped out the door. In the offices you can find women handling customer service, marketing and driving sales growth! Door County Coffee is truly a unique and wonderful place to work, and we are, and will always be so proud of the strong women who help keep our company running! Here’s to all the strong women we are surrounded by every day – because when women support each other, incredible things happen.