THRIVE Farmers began its odyssey to create its farmers direct initiative in the highlands of Costa Rica's Monteverde Region to challenge traditional coffee supply chains and to ensure growers receive a fair rate of return.

Thrive Farmers, the Central American coffee producer, which placed in August No. 19 on the 35th annual Inc. 500 list, the prestigious rankings of the nation’s fastest growing companies, has hired Tom Minella, a restaurant marketing executive, to expand its presence in the hospitality industry.

According to an Oct. 12 news release, Mr. Minella has worked with major food and beverage brands including Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Red Bull. Mr. Minella “knows the language of the restaurant vertical and understands the challenges and opportunities fced by restaurant industry C-level leaders.”

His addition to the management team will enable the company “to strengthen our efforts to change the way restaurants approach coffee,” Tom Matthesen, Thrive Farmer’s president, said in the release.

When Chick-fil-A announced in 2014 that it would offer coffee from the business in all of its outlets, it overturned traditional dependence on middlemen and  protected its members from the vicissitudes of global markets.

Thrive Farmers’ founders launched in 2011 what is a unique revenue-sharing platform where the farmers are actual shareholders in the business. This innovative revenue-sharing platform transforms the traditional cooperative model by connecting farmers directly to consumers through a new supply chain. Since 2012, the company has grown by more than 8,000 percent, placing it among the top 20 of the 5,000 companies ranked by Inc. Magazine.

By having direct access to the marketplace, maintaining ownership until the point of sale, members of the Thrive Farmers platform  receive stable, predictable wages, according to Thrive, up to 10 times more net profit than traditional models.

Mr Garbanzo
Mr Garbanzo

“I am honored to be a part of the Thrive mission, and continue to showcase the economic impact sustainability sourced, high-quality coffee can have on our lives and the coffee farmers we seek to empower with every cup,” Mr. Minella said of his appointment.

Franklin Garbanzo, a coffee farmer in Tarrazu, Costa Rica, who partners exclusively with Thrive Farmers, said of the Thrive business model.

“Before we  partnered with Thrive Farmers, we had so much trouble, Everything is different with Thrive. We can better support our family and our community when we have a connection to the consumers who buy and drink our coffee. Now we are able to care for our farm and plan for the future, and we can produce a better cup of coffee.”

To learn more about Thrive Farmers, click here.