Bradford steps in at Java Kai coffee shop
By ANN BURGRAFF - Special to TGI
Posted: Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 - 03:43:08 am HST
Hawai'i's year-round warm weather, rich volcanic soil, clean tropical air and raindrops from the heavens help make the state's coffee the best in the world.
But it was the idea of building a place for the community that inspired Chris Viverito, a recognized surfer and long-time resident of Kaua'i, to purchase the first Java Kai franchise in Kapa'a in August of 2000.
"Ninety five percent of my efforts were focused on building a place where locals could meet, interact and that would support the important community efforts on the island such as the Boys & Girls Club, KKCR and The Kauai Food Bank," said Viverito, "The fact it turned out to be so financially rewarding was a positive bonus, but not my first priority."
Viverito and his family have embraced the idea of creating their own destiny and decided to make their dream of spending winters in Colorado, summers in Bali and coming home to Kaua'i in the spring and fall a reality, but this meant selling his successful coffee shop.
It was important to Chris to sell the business to someone who shared his commitment to the local scene, the great employees, and the community.
"I didn't want to sell to some large corporate conglomerate, but to someone I could trust to continue to support the locals, while also affording the new owner with a great business that would provide a life most people only dream of," said Viverito.
Viverito contacted Lauren Angulo, president of Island Business Brokers, the sole Business Brokerage on Kaua'i, recognized as the source for helping people sell or buy a business on Kaua'i.
"Lauren worked with me over a number of months to accurately value my business. She understood all the dimensions of my business and how business is done on Kaua'i," said Viverito. "It was so easy working with Island Business Brokers, they handled all the details."
Lauren introduced Viverito to a number of prospective buyers, including Bradford Jones, an advertising executive and avid photographer from Massachusetts who had always dreamed of living on Kaua'i.
Viverito instantly felt comfortable with Bradford and invited him to listen to some jazz at The Landing Pad while they discussed the business.
"I felt 100 percent sure about Bradford and his commitment to keeping the 'ohana feeling at Java Kai," said Viverito.
Viverito not only showed Bradford how to manage the business, but also imparted valuable local knowledge.
"He showed me everything from where to drop off our GE Taxes, to where to pick up the cheapest beer," Bradford said.
The business transaction went smoothly and Java Kai-Kapa'a changed hands on December 1.
Bradford is thrilled with Kapa'a, Java Kai and especially the staff.
"The team here is great, they know the customers and often begin making their particular drink when they see them approaching the cafe," Bradford said.
He plans on making some improvements to the business, but stresses these improvements won't be seen as "changes" to the overall feeling of the shop.
He's also excited about promoting local artists on the "Artist of the Month" wall, and plans to continue supporting island initiatives.
Buying a business from halfway across the globe can certainly be a challenging situation, but Bradford found it much easier than expected.
"I found Island Business Brokers online and explored three other businesses through Lauren before we reviewed Java Kai. In every case, she presented the whole picture and helped me decide if it was the right business for me. She also provided great advice and important contacts for doing business on the island. She really went out of her way to ensure both parties were happy," said Bradford.