Wining & Dining
Community Coffer’s 100th Anniversary
4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM

There’s nothing we Louisianans have in common more than our food and drink. Regardless of age, gender, or race, most all of us all love our crawfish, our boudin, our jambalaya, our gumbo, a good Sazerac, or a cold Abita Strawberry. But there’s one staple we share more than any, and that’s a hot cup of Community Coffee in the morning. 

One hundred years old this year, Community Coffee Company is now the largest family-owned coffee company in the United States and controls over half of the coffee market in Louisiana. The business got its start in 1919 when the brand’s founder, Norman Saurage, commonly called "Cap”, started blending coffee in his general store in downtown Baton Rouge. These experimental blends were a huge hit with locals. Cap’s coffee became so popular that in 1923 coffee production was moved from his grocery stores to a dedicated facility in an old converted barn. With this increased capacity for coffee production, Saurage left his grocery business in 1924 to focus solely on coffee. Starting first in Louisiana, the company put its coffee in their signature red bags to stand out against other brands in retail environments. Cap decided to name the company "Community Coffee” to recognize his neighbors, friends and family that supported him.

Growth continued to explode, and it wasn’t long before Community Coffee expanded across Southeast United States, becoming one of the five major coffee companies in the South. During the Great Depression, American families and businesses alike fell on hard times. Though the other four southern coffee companies were technically competitors, it was imperative that they all work together to survive. That sense of community and cooperation within the industry helped build Community Coffee’s reputation, and the resulting company culture of "shared community values” is something the company credits with its long-term success. 

Through the years, the company and the communities they serve have survived major storms, supply issues, competition from large national chains, workforce issues, and World War II. Yet they have grown from serving four states to 24 states, and they continue to grow. 

Though many things have changed, two factors remain constant at Community Coffee. The Community empire remains a family-run business, now to the fourth generation; and their signature red bags continue to draw people to their products on the shelf. 

With 100 years of legacy behind them, Community Coffee works hard to give back some of the success they have enjoyed. Through a new campaign called #Community100, they are raising funds for non-profits, charities, and schools throughout the states they serve, adhering to what has always kept them going and growing: A sense of strong relationships with the people they serve, and fostering community in everything they do. 

Happy Centennial Birthday, Community Coffee!

Posted by: John O'Donnell | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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