Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Clarke.
In November of 2017, Paul realized he couldn’t take another sip of cheap fire station coffee. While waiting in the ambulance for police to clear a dangerous scene at 2 am, he said to his partner “Let’s start a first responder-based coffee company!”
It may have been the sleep deprivation they were experiencing but Paul and his partner came up with all four names of their original coffee varieties that very moment: Bubba Brew Medium Roast. Bury Up Black Dark Roast, Rescue Roast Light Roast, and Back The Blue Doughnut Flavored Medium Roast.
The dream of starting a coffee company would have to be put on hold though. Paul Clarke was given an opportunity he’d been waiting for since joining the Marine Corps. He was given a chance to deploy to Iraq as a Captain. While on a nine-month deployment, he met fellow officers Chris (Air Force TACP Captain), Gentry (USMC Tank Captain) and Skylar (Air Force TACP Captain). They all liked the idea of a first responder coffee company so together they raised enough money to start the company when Paul returned in October of 2018.
When he returned to the states, he was reassigned to a new fire station in Dallas. This fire station was notorious for its high crime rate and dangerous calls. That’s where he met Kyle, his eventual Chief of Operations. Kyle was an Infantry Staff Sergeant in the Army with two tours to Iraq under his belt who also worked as Dallas firefighter. They hit it off and Kyle and Paul launched the company in February of 2019.
They are committed to using first responders in every process possible. Whether it’s hiring firefighters to help roast and package the coffee or relying on a first responder to print their T-shirts. “First responders make such good employees because they have an inherently strong work ethic and can all see the big picture,” says Kyle.
Another way Fire grounds has the backs of heroes is by partnering with several amazing non-profits. These include the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Next Rung (a mental health support system for first responders), The Dallas Firefighters Museum, and Carry The Load.
From the beginning, all the founders agreed that they wanted Fire Grounds Coffee Co. to give back to the first responder community. That’s why they regularly donate fresh bags of coffee to fire and police stations all over the country. One of their sayings is “Heroes Deserve Good Coffee”. “Heroes deserve good coffee,” says Paul. “It’s the least we can do, and we understand how much of a morale booster it is to have a fresh pot of high-quality coffee waiting for you when your shift is kicking your butt.” That’s why the mission is on the back of the coffee bag “At Fire Grounds Coffee Co, it is our duty to give back to those who have given so much. That’s why Fire grounds Coffee Company donate one bag of coffee to first responders for every five bags sold.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a challenge being a full-time firefighter for the city of Dallas (which is an incredibly busy department) and running a coffee roasting company which also requires 40 hours plus of dedication. But when you realize what you are doing for your fellow First Responders it puts it all into perspective and helps you carry onward.
Fire Grounds Coffee Company – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We roast coffee with the mission of providing First Responders access to fresh and delicious coffee beans. The coffee also allows us to build rapport with departments so we can also provide their personnel with peer-to-peer mental health support.
We always roast on demand and use only the most premium beans for the best tasting cup of coffee. Because after all, #heroesdeservegoodcoffee.
What I’m most proud of our company for is how we walk the walk and talk the talk. We are all veteran and First Responders so we understand the importance a good cup of coffee has on morale. We also understand the need for mental health support within our own community. Fire Grounds Coffee Company strives to provide both.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being told our coffee is the best someone has ever tasted (which happens all the time).
Also being thanked by First Responders for starting the company.
Being able to talk to a peer about the difficulties about the job and reach an understanding of mental resiliency.
- Bury Up Black 1lb Dark Roast 15.99
- Bubba Brew 1lb Medium Roast 15.99
- Rescue Roast 1lb Light Roast 15.99
- Back The Blue Doughnut Flavored 1lb 15.99
- Address: 1300 S Polk St Ste 138, Dallas, Tx 75211
- Website: www.firegroundscoffeecompany.com
- Phone: 2147180265
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @firegroundscoffeecompany
- Facebook: @firegroundscoffeecompany
Candace Clarke, Autumn Kieth