Independent coffee shops were hit hard by the pandemic last year. In October, Euromonitor International predicted that the U.S. would have just 25,307 coffee/tea specialty outlets by the end of 2020, a 7.3 percent drop year-over-year and the first such decline since 2011. While giants like Starbucks had the resources to weather the pandemic, smaller independent chains bore the brunt of COVID-19 fallout.
Given this dark backdrop, you might think that Bellwether had a bleak year as well. The startup makes a compact, connected, electric and ventless professional coffee roasting machine meant for independent cafes — like the ones that shut down last year. But actually, Bellwether didn’t just survive the pandemic, it thrived.
“We ended up having a really good year,” Bellwether CEO, Nathan Gilliland told me by phone this week. “We grew revenue a bit over 100 percent last year and installations doubled.”
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