intentions & thank-yous

Well Hello! 

Welcome to the space where you will be able to stay up to date with events, learn about new offerings, and sometimes even read about my feelings + opinions (warning: this post will contain a whole bunch of these). 

In the coming weeks and months, I will be posting about where we are in terms of construction and more generally, about the journey of opening this business. 

I can’t begin to express how excited I am to get this business up and running, to bring you delicious coffees, and to teach those who are interested more about coffee and how to brew at home! My goal will ever-be to offer you new coffees that I love along with learning what you love in coffee so I can meet your needs. In the future, these posts will be much more heavily coffee-themed as I acquire green beans, get to know my new coffee roasters, and begin doing regular cuppings. Until that time comes, bear with me and read on should you wish to allow me the mental-space to share my mission statement and boundless gratitude. 

As a woman owned and operated business, I hope to eventually be collaborating with all sorts of local businesses,  particularly those which are Women/POC/LGBTQIA+ owned. This is an effort to combat the ever-present discrimination and sexism that both subtly and overtly proves to be a barrier that prevents so many from rising to the top, opening businesses, and from being perceived as at-the-very-least equally capable of manufacturing and selling goods. I can’t tell you how many professional opportunities have been denied to me simply as a result of my being a woman. In opening Page Roasting Company, I hope to become ever more empowered in manifesting my passion, in supporting ethically-sourced and grown coffee, in my employment practices, in the degree to which I am engaged with local charitable organizations + causes, and in developing lasting relationships with farmers, importers, fellow businesses and the community. I want my customers to not only be brewing the best coffee possible, but I want them to feel good about where they are buying it.

It is truly an honor + privilege to have your eyeballs on these words. While it has involved a tremendous amount of learning, effort, sweat + tears to get to where I am now - full of momentum and on track to be offering you freshly roasted coffee beans - I’m only just starting. I’m likely to have a whole new list of folks to thank come opening, but in the meantime, I want to fully acknowledge that I wouldn’t be in this position if not for the guidance, support, resources and friendship of so many people. 

It only makes sense to begin this expression of gratitude chronologically. I often perceive my own existence as a strange, unexpected, and unlikely occurrence in the universe. All four of my Grandparents are/were Holocaust survivors who lost all or most of each of their families. My parents were born in Poland, both only children. They independently immigrated to the US, met each other in Chicago, and I am the first child resulting from that union. First born in the US, first woman in my entire lineage to become a Bat Mitzvah, and first to open her own business. The weight of my history is something I have allowed to become an inseparable part of what is quintessentially me. The gratitude and respect I have for my Grandparents - Helena, Bohdan, Henia, and Marion - and my Parents - Dorota and Mark - is insurmountable. I have never been without support. I have always had people who believed in me and who taught me to believe in myself. I have always known what love is. 

Because my parents made it their mission to feed us so very well - taking us to as many and as diverse of Chicago restaurants as is humanly possible - they ended up with 3 daughters that have all ended up in some realm on the food industry. Coffee, pastry, and meat. While for now, we will establish ourselves and explore our respective realms, I'm allowed to have sister-deli-dreams. My sisters, Sarah and Rachel are the types of pillars of support that I simply can’t imagine being without. Not unlike support columns in basements, their support is so constant and stable and unwavering that I often forget to even acknowledge it. All the while, its precisely that which holds me up. 

Last year, my husband Josh Lucas and I were married and we’ve been conceptually and concretely working on this project ever since. As those of you reading this may know, Josh is the owner & operator of Flying Machine Coffee in Urbana. The location on 1st St will be shared between his new project - Flying Machine Avionics - and Page Roasting Company. I can say with certainty that without his encouragement, support, calm nature and good lovin’, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in now. He has set the greatest possible example for what it means to be a good boss/employer. He constantly elevates the upper boundary of what I have perceived love to be. I expect my gratitude to ever-grow as we build these businesses and our lives together. 

About a year and a half ago, I started actively loitering and shopping at a certain booth in the Urbana Indoor Market at Lincoln Square. I’m so glad I managed to trick & court Kaya Tate - of Hopscotch - into being my friend. She has absolutely been the greatest mentor and friend that I could have hoped to meet. There have been moments when I truly felt that no one in the world understood me like she did, that no one was able to give me more spot-on guidance, wisdom, and direction than she. Of all the help and support I have received, hers was always the catalyst that threw me into action. She is a stubborn, talented, badass genius business lady who spends so much of her free time supporting others. I can’t wait for her new bakery + market to open! You should be excited, too. Check out her website and follow her on all the medias. 

When it comes to mentors, I’ve had far too many to list here. But there are a few more I must thank here for getting me closer to the starting line. Alex Kunzelman is so wonderful. A roaster himself - in addition to being a local business-owner -  his encouragement, teachings, pragmatism, and kindness have been essential to my development as a coffee professional and as a human. I can only hope he knows how much his guidance and friendship have and continue to mean to me. Make sure to check out his pole-fitness studio, Defy Gravity

Seth Fein - a local entrepreneur-extraordinaire - has truly taught me more about professionalism than anyone. I’ve asked him so many unfiltered, ego-less questions. I’ve been able to ask Seth questions that aren't so far-off from “How do I use the Internet?” and he patiently, calmly walks you through it. At no time does he make you feel silly or small, stupid or naive. His professional services have been invaluable and his friendship deeply meaningful. Make sure to follow and learn more about his wonderful, local online magazine - Smile Politely - and his dynamic annual event, Pygmalion

Don Elmore - the director of the Small Business Development Center here in Champaign - has been so incredibly generous with his time and assistance. I’m sure i’ll be seeking his input and guidance time and time again. For those of you who are unaware, the Champaign SBDC provides tremendous amounts of resources to local entrepreneurs. Whether you are an established business looking to expand or seek answers to business-related questions, or you’re hoping to open a brand-new business, the SBDC should be at the top of your resource list. I can’t speak highly enough of Don or the organization. Thank you. 

If you have made it this far down the post, thank you for taking the time to acknowledge the people who have helped me and who make Champaign/Urbana so wonderful. I trust that all those loved-ones who have gone unmentioned here know me well enough to know my gratitude. 

I am at the beginning of this journey, full of adrenaline and excitement, ambition and fear. I can’t wait to meet you. Thank you for visiting. ‘Till next time. 

Erin Erdman2 Comments