Elana, Coffee Manufacturer
Toronto-born Elana Rosenfeld had a dream of living in the mountains. After studying at McGill University in Montreal, she headed west and found herself in the East Kootenay town of Invermere.
Like many westbound wanderers before her, Elana wondered how to make a meaningful living. She launched a series of ventures in Invermere, including a seasonal fruit stand and a whole food café. “Owning a café, we realized that there was no good coffee around,” explains Rosenfeld. That’s when she discovered her true passion, the coffee roasting business.
In August of 1996, Elana and partner Leo Johnson sold their first pound of Kicking Horse Coffee. It quickly became Canada’s number one certified organic, fair trade coffee.
“Our business doubled every year from the beginning. We saw the potential right away,” Rosenfeld says.
Kicking Horse Coffee is a 60,000 square foot roasting and production facility, alongside a modern, bustling café. Located in the Rocky Mountains, “The Horse” now has a team of more than 80 employees. The café offers freshly roasted Kicking Horse Coffee and delectable treats and lunch fare, all made locally.
Coffee from around the world is roasted, packaged and shipped from the Invermere facility. Customers across North America and beyond can now purchase Kicking Horse Coffee in whole bean or ground format. The coffee is available online and in grocery stores and cafes.
Fair trade means farmers will receive a fair price for their beans. Kicking Horse imports coffee from Africa, Indonesia and South America.
Kicking Horse Coffee was recently named Number 15 on the 2015 Best Places to Work in Canada list and they are continuously on the lookout for outstanding people to join the team.
What is Rosenfeld’s biggest challenge? “Recruiting and hiring people. It’s stressful and challenging. That’s why I’m particularly proud of our award and that we can provide an amazing workplace.”
Rosenfeld’s advice to future entrepreneurs is to invest in HR. “I’ve had the most awesome HR pro for the past 10 years. It’s been a huge benefit. People are the most rewarding piece. That’s what makes coming to work fun.”