Story and Photos by Julie Unger
Amy and Scott Angelo of Oceana Coffee wowed a four-judge panel at Xcelerate Wellington 2.0, a special entrepreneurship event hosted by the Young Professionals of Wellington on Jan. 25 at the Wanderers Club.
Oceana Coffee edged out runner-up Aquaco Farms and finalists AllerCheck and Direct Dispatch.
After presenting their company, winning the grant was a milestone accomplishment for the Oceana Coffee owners. “We were surprised and kind of overwhelmed, but it definitely makes you feel validated in what you’re doing and that you’re on the right track with your business. It’s an amazing achievement,” Amy said. “We’re super passionate about the product and where it comes from. We’re all about the coffee.”
Judges Tre Zimmerman of Ubicquia and Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Robbin Lee were impressed with the company. Lee felt that the owners showed entrepreneurial drive and epitomized the American spirit. Zimmerman looked for scalability and sustainability with the business model and where the $10,000 grant would have the greatest impact.
“We weren’t looking at it as awarding a prize,” Zimmerman said. “Where would we put our money? That was where we all agreed. If we were going to place our own personal capital into funding and growing a business, it was going to be the coffee business.”
Working with groups such as the Young Professionals also helps them refine their pitch, Scott said, which, as the company grows, will help them when approaching larger investors.
The grant will help toward opening at kiosk at 189 Bradley Place on Palm Beach and is also helping with a new cold-brew program. “We have our ready-to-drink cold brew in cans, and also in bottles coming,” Amy said.
Growing the company and reaching as many people as they can, as well as opening the new location, is what Amy is looking forward to in the coming months. They already have two locations in Tequesta — one with a roasting facility and a café, and the other with a café and a rentable conference room, in addition to approximately 60 wholesale clients in Palm Beach, Martin and Broward counties.
Roasting and grinding their own coffee, the company hopes to change the way people enjoy and drink coffee.
“It was a selfish necessity,” said Scott, who is from Australia. “I couldn’t find any coffee here that was good enough for me to drink, or that I really enjoyed.”
Scott realized that creating specialty coffee was a passion that would change his future. “The whole landscape of coffee is changing quite dramatically. Florida is probably a long way behind the rest of the country,” he said. “For me, it’s like a fine red wine. There’s wines you can just go and drink for the sake of drinking, or there are wines that you can certainly really enjoy.”
Each coffee that they roast, they know the farmer and the best way to roast the beans.
“People are learning and catching up to the fact that coffee’s not just a brown liquid — it’s something to enjoy and to find our own flavor,” he said.
Oceana Coffee is available for order online and ships around the world. Wholesale partners, such as local bakers, candy makers, chocolatiers and other vendors, are welcome to contact the company for more information.
“We’re always bringing in new products. Everything that we have is made locally,” Amy said. “It is a higher-end product. It is luxurious, but it’s not out of reach. It’s something that anybody can experience.”
Learn more about the company at http://oceanacoffee.com.
Also winning at Xcelerate Wellington 2.0 was Wellington businessman Henry Mosley of HNM Menswear.
Mosley’s pitch to the audience, including that HNM offers a uniquely large necktie collection, won him the “Homegrown” People’s Choice Award, a $2,000 grant. Other candidates were the Med Writers and Rich Oak Vineyards.
“It was a great opportunity,” Mosley said. “I was very excited.”
HNM Menswear epitomizes the evolution of fashion, working to style men — including those wearing big and tall sizes — for a night on the town, polo, special events, an anniversary or casual everyday wear.
The grant will allow Mosley to continue growing his business, increase his inventory to keep styles up-to-date and increase his marketing and advertising to let men in the community know that HNM Menswear is here and ready to help.
Mosley’s personal touch, rather than a major retailer, makes a huge difference.
“When guys come to me, they get my personal service. I pay attention to the details,” he said. “I look at things such as what colors light them up… I pay attention to the colors that they like, the styles that they like. With me, every time you come, you’ll see the same guy.”
He also tracks what is purchased, allowing customers to avoid unintentionally buying duplicates and making it easier to add complementary items.
“You have to put the right colors together that complement their skin tone, their height, their size and their weight,” Mosely explained.
Lee was impressed with how Mosley offers both a service as well as a product. HNM Menswear is a local, growth-stimulating company with entrepreneurial spirit, and that is what impressed Zimmerman most.
For more information, visit www.hnmmenswear.com.
Xcelerate 2.0 presenting sponsor the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center made both the event and the $10,000 grant possible, while the “Homegrown” award, presented by TD Bank and CBIZ, included a $2,000 grant and business assistance from Anidea Engineering, CRGO Law, RM5 Design and Peter Marcus Coaching. Learn more about the Young Professionals at www.ypwellington.com.