Small Business Saturday Profile: RedEye Coffee

By Abby Cloud

There’s nothing that Tallahassee knows quite like local coffee shops, and many residents frequent local cafe, RedEye Coffee. With a mission of a “socially and environmentally responsible” means of producing and selling their coffee, as well as a yummy variety of coffees and teas, it’s no wonder that RedEye has stolen the hearts of many.

RedEye was founded 15 years ago by Mark McNees. “It was just two guys bagging and selling coffee,” founder McNees humbly recalls. After branching out into an official coffee business, McNees named the company after his favorite drink, a red eye. “A red eye is a cup of regular drip coffee with a shot of espresso in it—intended to keep you up and alert over long periods of time,” explains Chief Operating Officer Barby Moro. This drink influenced their unique red-eyed tree frog logo, which typically sleep during the day and keep active during the night.

RedEye stands out in the Tallahassee community because of its dedication to sustainability, ethical-trade, and community-giving. “We don’t believe in unethical business practices and refuse to participate in activities where we are profiting off the oppression of others,” Moro remarks. RedEye’s coffees and teas are sustainably-sourced, all natural, and are only grown and bought from small farmers who are paid a fair price for their efforts. Additionally, all net profits are donated to local and global empowerment charities. “Every day we are putting people before profits,” states Moro. “We try really hard and are intentional about everything we do to be in the service of the farmers, customers, our employees, and community.”

In addition to upholding the mission behind the company, RedEye’s menu contains delicious coffees and teas. Moro discusses some customer-favorite drinks: “Our chai latte, cafe con leche, and Mexican mochas are incredibly popular.” She adds that some other fan favorites include single-origin, locally roasted, and ethically-traded drip and cold brew coffees.

As far as development goes, RedEye is undergoing quite a few changes that you can expect in the future. On February 1, RedEye merged with Catalina Cafe and are using this opportunity to level-up all of their efforts in ethical trade, sustainability, and providing community support. As a result of the merge with Catalina Cafe, RedEye is now locally roasting and blending their own coffee and teas, as well as, making the bakery items, syrups and sauces in-house, and looking to add additional items to their menu.  “Later this summer we will be debuting our new drinks menu for our customers and can’t wait to see what their new favorites become,” Moro comments. Weekday food service and weekend brunch options will be expanding to other stores as well.

There’s a lot in store for RedEye Coffee as it continues to grow and impact the community.  “We hope that in addition to the delicious coffee and food our customers are enjoying, they are taking pride in being a part of the RedEye story.” Moro says. Whether you’re purchasing drinks, food, or merchandise, you are creating a positive impact on the community, the coffee business, and the Earth, perfectly encapsulating what RedEye Coffee’s mission truly means: “Drink coffee locally. Change lives globally.”

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