Rarely will a company invest without some sort of guarantee. But that’s exactly what Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters have done. Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters didn’t decide to become the title sponsor of Bellingham United FC (BUFC) because they were promised millions of dollars in return. They did it because they are passionate about soccer.
Being from Bogotá Colombia, soccer is more then just a sport, it’s part of life, the Torres family went as far as saying “it’s like our religion,” using hands to show soccer and the Catholic Church on equal levels. When the Torres family heard that there was going to be a new club coming to Bellingham, they wanted to be a part of it and in a major way.
The family left Colombia in January of 2000 because of political reasons and struggled at first to adjust. They started the coffee company as a way for the father to get out of the labor-intensive fishing industry, a job he took even though his previous work experience in Colombia was in the oil industry. The company has steadily grown since 2006, and Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters was registered as a company in 2008.
Through talking with the family, three things became clear; the family lives coffee, breathes soccer and loves to help. They had always wanted to have a way to give back to people in South and Central America, and were looking for opportunities to do so. They just needed to find the right group that had similar thinking.
While playing indoor soccer at the Sportsplex, the Torres family had asked about advertising Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters inside. That’s when they met Lance Calloway, Head Coach of BUFC. While talking about soccer, Lance mentioned the new club coming to town. After meeting with the owners of BUFC “It just made sense, we saw how passionate these guys were and we wanted to get involved,” said the Torres’.
That involvement started with creating a blend, “The Morning Header,” alongside Soccer Without Borders, with proceeds going to the non-profit organization that leverages the game of soccer to impact the lives of marginalized youth around the world. That would end up being just the beginning of what is surely to be a beneficial partnership for both sides. With both sides desiring to see the sport grow, and being passionate about it, things seem to be destined for success.
Being the title sponsor, Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters will be featured on the BUFC website, be front and center on the jerseys and will be advertised during game day activities. But according to the family, “The connection that Jeff McIntyre gave us to Soccer Without Borders is the most important thing. Being able to help people is more important to us than any financial gain that we could receive. Soccer is a part of us, and it’s kind of neat to be able to be a part of something that we think is going to be so big.” They went on to say, “With Bellingham being right in between Seattle and Vancouver, and how passionate people are around here about the sport, it has a ton of potential.”
They also want to see the team succeed, that being evident in the choice of their number one prospective player, Lionel Messi. Even though Argentina is a huge rival for Colombia, they think the Barcelona player could help the team. (Maybe some day!)
With their coffee and blends being sold at the Co-Op, Fountain Bistro, Whole Foods Market, various other restaurants and also online, there are plenty of ways to get your hands on the locally owned, artisan roasted, 100% fair trade and organic coffee blends from some of the most renowned locations around the world.