Williston now home to Green Mountain Coffee (11/5/09)

Nov. 5, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Since expanding from its Waterbury headquarters earlier this fall, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has created quite a buzz in Williston.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Employees at Williston’s Green Mountain Coffee Roasters warehouse and fulfillment center build K-Cup variety boxes for upcoming holiday gifts.

The multi-million dollar coffee company began expanding into E-Commerce Park off Marshall Avenue in late September, bringing some of its non-manufacturing capabilities to town. Also located at the warehouse is the company’s brewer service department, which helps commercial customers with their coffee brewing technology.

Green Mountain Coffee’s business is growing on a quarterly basis and parts of the company have outgrown the Waterbury headquarters, said public relations manager Sandy Yusen.

For the past five years, the company has had an annual growth rate of 18.7 percent, according to the company’s Web site. As of June, the last month for which financial data was available, the company’s annual revenue exceeded $715 million.

“We’re fortunate to be in a position of growth for our company,” Yusen said.

Williston Operations Manager Ken Jensen said the warehouse at E-Commerce Park was perfect for the company. The building offered 70,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, with opportunities to expand into another 40,000 square feet. Much of the square footage is used for bulk storage of company goods and products. Jensen said as Green Mountain Coffee expands, space becomes a premium.

“We’re already growing here,” Jensen said. “We’ll need that (extra) room.”

The Williston location was deemed perfect due to its size, closeness to company headquarters and proximity to Interstate 89, among other factors, Jensen said.

“There was a long and extensive search to see what was available,” he said.

The Williston-based Miller Realty Group owns the 35-acre E-Commerce Park. Resolution Inc. used to have the warehouse space now occupied by Green Mountain Coffee, but the online distribution company downsized significantly over the past year and has moved to a smaller location in the business park.

In its short time in Williston, Green Mountain Coffee has already set up operations to ship out 12 to 13 truckloads of product a week, Jensen said. On Tuesday afternoon, company employees were busy building variety packs and gift boxes for corporate customers. Many of the boxes included Green Mountain Coffee’s famous K-Cups, single-serving coffee containers that work only in Keurig-brand brewing machines.

Many of the K-Cup variety packs being assembled are for the upcoming holidays, but Jensen believes demand for the packs will continue beyond December.

“The forecast we have for the variety packs is strong throughout the year, not just seasonal,” Jensen said.

Along with Waterbury, Williston is a shipping location for the K-Cup Coffee Quick Picks, where “at-home customers” can pick and choose their own K-Cup packages online or over the phone, Jensen said. Williston will have 90 or more K-Cup coffees, teas and hot cocoa brands on hand for distribution, he added.

The Williston location is also home to the company’s commercial brewer service department, which includes a call center and technician staff. Commercial customers that own brewing machines, typically the K-Cup brewers, tend to be restaurants, colleges and other large companies or organizations, said Lance Mansfield, service systems manager.

Mansfield says the department handles any service calls and fixes defective brewing machines in Williston or in the field.

“We have our own separate shipping and receiving,” Mansfield said. “It’s like we’re our own little business here.”

As business and sales grow, so does Green Mountain Coffee, which has expanded outside Waterbury for the past several years. The company has an 87,000 square-foot warehouse location in Essex for part of its K-Cup production. Green Mountain Coffee and its subsidiary businesses and brands also have operations in Massachusetts, Tennessee and Washington state.

Growth could also mean more jobs at the Williston location, which already employs 85 people, some of whom are temporary workers, said Jensen.

“As we bring new activities in, we’re going to need people for those activities,” Jensen said.