Veterans Promise Coffee helps vets secure their financial future

By Melissa Renahan on February 3, 2014

As more servicemembers transition out into the civilian workforce there will continue to be a need for corporations and businesses to hire veterans, unless of course that veteran wants to own their own small business, like the opportunity being offered through Seattle-based Veterans Promise Coffee.

According to statistics on VPC's website, it is estimated that 250,000 veterans will be transitioning out of military service and entering the civilian job market and small business community every year through 2031.

VPC was founded to provide veterans and their families with an opportunity to secure their financial future by owning a small business, namely, an automated self-serve coffee kiosk, giving any customer a chance to support the veteran's venture.

"Two-thirds of our leadership served in uniform, so we're considered a veteran-owned business," explained Colleen Wilks, VPC co-founder and vice president of marketing.

Wilks, who is the mother of an active duty Marine, has been through five deployments and considers herself attuned to the needs of active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families, as well as the challenges they can face.

According to Wilks, VPC will never be run by non-military and the kiosks will not be sold to or operated by individuals with no military affiliation.

"Basically, an entrepreneur with us needs to have a military family connection - whether that means some battle buddies, parents or spouse of a servicemember, that way the family can even opt to run it prior to the servicemember getting out of the military and ensure a that there's a business in place and a secure financial future," she explained.

The kiosks will operate similarly to a franchise, meaning that multi-location ownership will be allowed, although there will be territories established by VPC so the market does not become saturated and/or unprofitable.

"We'll stand out because we can deliver great-tasting, freshly ground coffee in each cup, with nothing instant involved, and pricing will be competitive," Wilks said.

However, the biggest piece of the puzzle now is honing the kiosk model and working out the kinks. Some are being beta-tested in various locations and the plan is that the perfected kiosks will be available nationwide sometime in 2014.

Although the kiosks are not available yet, there is a way to support VPC and sample its proven product, which is made from Arabica beans and roasted by Royal Cup Coffee.

Packaged VPC coffee is currently being sold in a limited run at Defense Commissary Agency locations across the country, including both commissaries at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Now through Feb. 5, 12 oz. bags of either regular European blend, which VPC bills as being for serious coffee connoisseurs, or a decaf Columbia blend, which boats a rich flavor while remaining 98 percent caffeine-free, are available for just $6.49.

"So far the sales have been good and the hope is that we receive a good consumer response overall and that the commissaries will continue to carry it as a regular product," Wilks said.

VPC is also investigating placement at other grocery chains nationwide and Wilks hinted that it could be on shelves sometime in 2014.

Furthermore, $.50 from every purchased bag goes directly to the Veterans Promise Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping servicemembers who are transitioning from the battlefield to the home front. Specifically, the foundation can provide no-interest loans for down payments on a business to veterans, even if that business is not a coffee kiosk.

To learn more about VPC or to express interest in a kiosk, send an email to