Perhaps your morning revolves around a good cup of joe. Scott Shwartz’s entire business revolves around supplying customers with the perfect cup of coffee. As a second-generation business owner, he’s part of a beverage service that’s long been caffeinating break rooms and food service venues. Like his father before him, Scott is passionate about service. The goal of his company is to “delight customers throughout the Twin Cities area.”
As a company that places so much value on personal service, naturally Scott expects the same from his business partners. His previous bank provided that kind of service at one point. However, as the bank got bigger and money got tighter, Scott and Coffee Mill became just a number. He was more interested in a partnership.
Because of the way the company is structured, its books don’t tell the whole story. Scott needed a bank that would get to know the company, the management team and the business philosophy. So he set forth a process of interviewing banks.
“Alerus took the most time to get to know us and was most creative in their solutions. I know it’s cliché, but they really think outside the box—they’re true problem solvers,” Scott recalls. “At the end of our search, there was absolutely no question which bank we’d go with. We like the way Alerus thinks.”
“Shortly after our relationship began, banker Dave (Latta) took a look at the manner in which my partner and I were purchasing the company from my parents. He thought about how the deal was structured and knew there had to be a better way to finance this deal. He brainstormed a bit with our accountant and now we’re in a much better position.”
“When we went in to sign papers at Alerus, it ended up I had to bring my two-year-old daughter along. Dave went out and bought her a barrel of monkeys and welcomed her to the table right alongside of us. It’s a small thing, but it made me realize I was dealing with the right bank,” Scott says.
“As a company, we’re very transparent with employees and with our vendors. In our Alerus relationship, that transparency is reciprocal,” Scott observes. “Consequently, together we’ve been able to come up with ideas to improve our cash flow and identify some cost-cutting measures.”
“The Alerus team just has a much different approach than other banks. It’s obvious they love what they do. They have a hunger for business and they’re energized by new ideas—just like us. It’s a good fit.”
Brooklyn Park, MN
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