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Greg Ubert of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea receives Kent Clapp Leadership Award

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Greg Ubert, founder and president of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

COLUMBUS, Ohio, U.S. — Greg Ubert, founder and president of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, has won the Kent Clapp Leadership Award in the 2020 Medical Mutual Pillar Awards for Community Service. The Pillar Awards recognize organizations making a difference in their communities through volunteering, charitable giving, pro-bono support and more. Ubert and 20 other honorees received awards Thursday, January 30 at an Ohio Statehouse ceremony.

“Giving back is a core value at Crimson Cup,” Ubert said. “I’m proud of our commitment to Coffee+Community at home and abroad.”

Today, Crimson Cup is a nationally ranked roaster known for small-batch, sustainably sourced coffee. It won 2017 and 2020 Good Food Awards, the 2019 Golden Bean Small Franchise/Chain Championship and the 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year award in 2016.

In 1991, Ubert was a young entrepreneur with little business or coffee experience. He worked from a one-room office with a small coffee roaster.

From the start, his vision focused on providing the best-tasting coffee and coffeehouse products to customers. He focused on creating a relationship chain rather than a supply chain. Giving back to the community was a high priority.

After he saw that some coffee house customers were struggling, Ubert studied their operations. He developed a service platform called “Seven Steps to Success.”

The program offered a unique proposition: Crimson Cup would teach entrepreneurs how to open coffee houses and help them stay in business – without franchise fees, royalties or restrictive contracts.

In 2003, he published Seven Steps for Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee. This book and Crimson Cup’s coffee shop franchise alternative program have put more than 350 independent coffee businesses in 38 states, Guam and Bangladesh on the road to success.

About a decade ago, Ubert turned his sights on the coffee growing world. Commodity prices, climate change, crop diseases and systemic poverty made it hard for farmers to eke out a living. Many considered leaving coffee altogether.

In 2011, he started the Friend2Farmer direct trade initiative to help farmers thrive, one farm and community at a time. Today, the company is making economic, environmental and social impacts through over 60 farmer relationships in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

Crimson Cup begins by paying an above-market price. Coffee professionals, known as “Cuppers,” travel over 100,000 miles each year to forge relationships with coffee farmers. They consult on coffee quality, connect growers with needed resources and invest in community projects.

The company has helped to build new homes, paid for teachers and school supplies, funded construction of a community center and distributed water filtration devices, among other projects.

At home, Crimson Cup donates over $89,000 each year to Central Ohio causes. The company provides financial and in-kind support to the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio.

It donates to and volunteers with See Kids Dream and hosts a team in the American Brain Tumor Association’s Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5K race.

Crimson Cup also supports the local entrepreneurial community, including Leadercast, GiveBackHack, Startup Grind and TEDx Columbus.

Engaged in the central Ohio community, Ubert sits on the Board of Directors for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Support Community Central Ohio and Heartland Bank.