Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Business

Kahwa’s next stop after 10 years in Tampa Bay? Publix

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s been Kahwa Coffee co-founders Raphael Perrier’s goal from the start.

The chain of Tampa Bay coffee shops he opened with his wife has its roots in wholesale — so he dreamed of one day winning over a big distributor to get inside Publix stores.

Now the coffee roasters are preparing to make it a reality.

Tampa Bay’s popular Kahwa Coffee could be served in up to 130 Publix store cafes across the southeast by the end of the year, Raphael and Sarah Perrier announced on Wednesday. The first two locations, in Bradenton and Winter Park, have been operating for a few weeks already under a pilot program.

"This has been a long time in the making," Raphael Perrier told the Tampa Bay Times. "The idea is that this is a test program… If we are doing well, then they are going to roll out more."

The Kahwa drinks are being offered inside existing in-store bakery and cafes, according to Publix spokesman Brian West. It’s a different model than the in-store Starbucks that are being tested in several Publix stores already, like one location in Tampa on Gandy Boulevard.

But architect and retail expert Kevin Kelley thinks the Kahwa trial could edge out Publix’s Starbucks test.

"What hurts when you’re putting a Starbucks in is that it doesn’t give your business anything proprietary," Kelley said. "They’re kind of like McDonald’s. People want to support local."

The Kahwa-serving cafes will be run by Publix employees, but Perrier said there are Kahwa blends, equipment and training to ensure employees know how to make its signature coffees and lattes.

Publix confirmed that a Virginia store would be next in line to begin serving the coffee. Stores as far away as Tennessee and North Carolina and as close as Tampa and Miami could be next, Perrier said.

It would be a major sales expansion for the coffee company, which opened a sole St. Petersburg location a decade ago. Now there are 12 cafes between Tampa Bay, Bradenton and Sarasota. Miami debuted its first Kahwa in March and cafes are planned inside the International Mall in Tampa and the University Town Center in Sarasota.

Perrier said he was "over the moon" that Publix decided to work with a Florida roaster.

"I love that Publix went for a local story," he said.

He knows customers love to sip coffee while they shop — Target is known for having Starbucks locations inside and Lucky’s Market has a full coffee bar and cafe. In western New York, the grocery chain Tops Friendly Markets offers local-favorite Tim Hortons.

Kelley said Kahwa could give Publix a trendy, fashion-forward appeal even to customers in other states unfamiliar with the brand.

Already, Kahwa distributes its coffee in the wholesale market to more than 800 hotels and other businesses operating across the country.

RELATED COVERAGE: First Kahwa Coffee cafe outside of Tampa Bay opens in Miami, more to come

The new Publix locations will also sell Kahwa k-cup brews and coffee beans.

The Perriers founded Kahwa in 2006 as a coffee distributor and wholesaler. Two years later, the couple opened the first Kahwa cafe on Second Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. Now its trademark yellow cups have become a staple among many Tampa Bay coffee drinkers.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Kahwa and Buddy Brew lead the charge of Tampa Bay’s coffee revolution

West said there is no promise a specified number of stores will begin serving Kahwa coffee, but said the brand "has potential to grow."

"People like Kahwa Coffee," he added, "and anytime we’ve got an opportunity to showcase a local supplier, as long as their products are reaching our quality standards, we try to do that."

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Comments
Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Here’s a look.

Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Here’s a look.

ST. PETERSBURGDr. BBQ needed a beer. Mission accomplished: A sip of Green Bench’s Dr. BBQ Pale Lager dispatched, he was ready to start the tour. See that teal tufted couch against that wall? It’s like something from Girl & the Goat in Chicago. The wo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

It can be tough to figure out why insurance companies charge some more than others for auto coverage. But a recent analysis by the Consumer Federation of America suggests that a driver’s neighborhood could be a factor. The analysis, released Monday, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Mum’s the word but Murman’s a player in departure of Glazer Children’s Museum leader

Mum’s the word but Murman’s a player in departure of Glazer Children’s Museum leader

TAMPA — Jennifer Stancil was looking forward to Halloween and the role she would play in a new downtown event celebrating the spooky holiday."WE ARE SO EXCITED to be a partner with the Riverwalk for Halloween," Stancil, president and chief executive ...
Published: 10/17/18
Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area men charged in billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area residents are wrapped up in what federal prosecutors are calling a billion-dollar telemedicine rip off.Starting in 2015, the defendants and their pharmacy companies set up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance ...
Published: 10/16/18
Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

The Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower ticket prices and voyages that sail later for dinner-time and evening-out trips to Tampa and St. Petersburg.One-way fares will be $8 for adults — $2 less than during the ferry’s first season two years ago...
Published: 10/16/18
Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Buying a house? Rising mortgage rates are pushing monthly payments for the typical U.S. home 15.4 percent higher than they would have been if you had purchased a year ago, Zillow says. Since January, the average mortgage rate has climbed from about ...
Published: 10/16/18
Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

The program, which raises awareness of post-graduate jobs for students, may expand across the Bay area.
Published: 10/16/18
Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

TAMPA — Southern Airways Express said Tuesday it will launch air service between Tampa and West Palm Beach on Nov. 8, just three days after another carrier discontinues the route.Southern Airways, the third largest commuter carrier in the nation, is ...
Published: 10/16/18
Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

WASHINGTON — Low-income people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than the poor in other states, according to a government report released Monday amid election debates from Georgia to Utah over ...
Published: 10/16/18
Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

Report: Uber IPO could put company value at $120 billion

NEW YORK — Uber may put forth an initial public offering early next year that values the ride-hailing business at as much as $120 billion, according to a media report. The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that Uber Technologies Inc. received valuatio...
Published: 10/16/18