Serving and Sewing With Love
In a year that has offered no shortage of business challenges, 2020 has also given businesses countless opportunities to support each other and their communities. Evidence of this is seen in a holiday collection created by iconic Minnesota companies Faribault Woolen Mill Co. and Caribou Coffee. The exclusive collection available only at CaribouCoffee.com, featuring items like Faribault wool coffee sleeves and a Caribou-blue wool blanket, draws inspiration from the crisp winter mornings we all know so well this time of year, wrapped up in our favorite blanket with a steaming cup of coffee in hand.
The partnership of Caribou Coffee and Faribault Woolen Mill Co., whose headquarters are separated by a short sixty-mile drive along the Mississippi River, was formed out of unique circumstance and necessity. When face protection for essential workers was first recommended in April to guard against Covid-19, demand quickly shot through the roof, and suppliers couldn’t keep up.
At the time, Caribou Coffee had placed two large orders for masks to equip its employees from two different personal protection equipment suppliers—but both orders were cancelled due to supply shortages.
Determined to keep employees and customers safe at its over 300 locations, Caribou Coffee sought alternatives. Having heard about many textile companies that were making masks to help their communities, Caribou reached out to connections at the heritage blanket and textile mill Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Within just a few days of connecting, a partnership was born: Faribault Woolen Mill would sew masks for all Caribou Coffee employees.
“We were thrilled our answer to an important part of serving safely was just down the river with our friends at Faribault,” said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou.
A dozen members of Faribault’s blanket sewing team quickly switched gears and began sewing masks in large quantities—enough to equip every one of Caribou Coffee’s 5,000-plus employees around the country. Trips between Minneapolis and Faribault were made almost daily by employees of both companies, including a few hand-deliveries from president and COO of Faribault, Ross Widmoyer.
“I’ve known the Caribou team for a while, so when they called asking if we would help, the answer was ‘yes,’” Widmoyer, said. “This is about more than two iconic Minnesota brands partnering together; it’s about friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors during a time of need.”
In the midst of this partnership, Caribou Coffee and Faribault Woolen Mill teams were also each in the throes of holiday planning for an especially difficult retail year. The two brands decided to continue their collaboration by creating the exclusive Caribou Coffee x Faribault Woolen Mill merchandise collection.
“Continuing to deliver on unique Caribou experiences this holiday season was important to us, especially as we saw shifts to more online shopping and at-home brewing,” said Matt Reiter, vice president of product and merchandising at Caribou Coffee. “We are thrilled to bring this online-only collection to life with the team at Faribault and continue a partnership that originated in service to our teams and guests”.
To shop the Caribou Coffee x Faribault Woolen Mill exclusive collection, visit cariboucoffee.com/faribault.