Raleigh’s coffee power couple have grown a small cold brew coffee company that used a local restaurant’s kitchen in off hours to a national coffee (and tea) brand with big name investment backing and a great local retail/production facility.
PS: Today Slingshot Coffee Co. is celebrating their third birthday at their WEEKEND retail location. Local vendors, food, drinks…go check it out from 10am – 2pm today.
Jenny and Jonathan Bonchak
(owners, Slingshot Coffee Co.)
I think many of us share similar first experiences with Slingshot Coffee Co., the Raleigh-based cold brew coffee company that has been a huge hit since its launch three years ago.
For most of us, we were first struck by the incredible packaging design of Slingshot’s bottled ready-to-drink cold brew. We just had to see what it was all about.
But once in hand, I think what many of us remember is the incredible experience of having Jenny Bonchak hand-deliver you your first bottle from the back of her car.
For me, we made an evening run to Escazu Chocolates one night three years ago to give Slingshot a try. Escazu and iced coffee, I was excited. Sadly, by the time we got there, the last bottle was gone (mind you, I think they had maybe 10 bottles to start the day with). Slightly bummed, we attempted to cheer ourselves up with a couple pieces of Escazu’s strawberry-balsamic artisan chocolate and fired a message off to Slingshot to see if anyone else nearby might have a bottle.
Not moments later we received a message back asking if we were still there because they’d bring a bottle by. Amazed…we sat outside Escazu for a few minutes enjoying chocolate when a smiling Jenny Bonchak pulls up with several bottles in hand. We chatted a bit, listened to her story, realized we had a lot of common connections and thanked her profusely.
It was that moment for us, like many others, that we instantly became a Slingshot fan and supporter.
Back then that’s just how it was. They did not have retail locations, distributors or investment for that matter. It was Jenny, her time, her energy and her smile.
At the time, she worked during the day and had arranged a deal with Market Restaurant to use a small section of their kitchen at night and on weekends when the restaurant was closed. She brewed the coffee. Bottled it. Applied the labels by hand and did the distribution.
If there was a local Raleigh event with food and beverage vendors, you could count on Jenny having a table or stand. And more importantly, you could count on being greeted by Jenny and that smile because she was a one woman show.
Today, along with her husband Jonathan (who she finally was able to hire away from Durham-based Counter Culture Coffee), Jenny has expanded and grown Slingshot from the back of her car and several local Raleigh retail stores to a coffee and tea company distributed in stores across the US and in Whole Foods locations in the Southeast.
Together, Jenny and Jonathan continue to show their brewing expertise with four years of National Brewers Cup awards and a dedication to their craft that shows in every bottle of Slingshot.
They are incredible people who continue to prove that through hard work, pride in your quality and a dedication to your dream, anything is possible.
Jenny & Jonathan, thanks for being such an inspiring couple and a shining example of Raleigh’s entrepreneurial spirit. I love what you do and how you do it!
But now, I’m off to walk down the street and grab a bottle for myself.