Helping out 10th Planet Long Beach - A Letter from our Founder

The following was sent to our mailing list the morning of June 4, 2020. Click here to go directly to the Horizon product page and make your donation.


I sat and deliberated over this email for a while. I try to keep our company out of politics and away from commenting on current events, in order to better keep our focus on coffee. Lord knows everyone has an opinion these days. And you know what they say about opinions... And besides, these days it feels like there's always someone upset and asking to see the manager (but, you know, I am the manager, Karen).

But after the way the last week has gone, I'm coming to you with a heavy heart. Our company, from the very beginning, has been built on the American Dream that we can have the life we want if we work hard, stay smart, and take care of our people. We believe that the capacity to live your dream is within you. Within all of us. We roast and sell our coffee with the intention of giving you the energy you need to make your dream a reality. The whole point of this whole thing is to give you what you need to make your world a better place.

But over the last week, we've seen firsthand the division of America. We saw a horrific act by a terrible, racist cop. We saw justifiable outrage from people - of all races - around the country and around the globe. Since then, we've seen both peaceful protests and violent rioting and looting. We've seen both exemplary cops doing their jobs and violent bullies wearing the uniform. We've seen beautiful acts of humanity and we've seen horrifying acts of brutality, and we've seen everything in between.

The fracture our country is experiencing was created by hate, selfishness, greed, ignorance, and more

As MLK said;

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The only way to fix the rift in our country is to reach across the void and try to understand our brothers and sisters. Our brothers and sisters on both sides of the line.

Our beautiful country has spent the last week lost in the throes of hate. We must rebuild, we must reconnect, we must unite. We've lost what made us great. I'm getting messages from my friends around the world worried about the chaos in American cities.

In my mind (and maybe I'm projecting here, being an owner of one myself), the unity of America is found in the small business. Neighborhoods across the nation have a coffeeshop, a bar, a garage, a school, a general store, and other small shops. These small businesses once stood as cultural icons that unified neighborhoods. It created a sense of unity to know that your next door neighbor owned your favorite bar, and your buddy a few blocks down worked the bar. How many of us know the bartenders by name at our neighborhood tavern? Our morning barista (ahem)? The woman working the register at our favorite lunch spot? Better yet, it seems like actually knowing the owner has become such a rarity that the owners have risen to an almost mythic status. The rise of corporate America has blunted the power of the small business, and the coronavirus and the rioting have only added to that trend.

Being a small business with deep roots in martial arts - speficially BJJ - it tore at our hearts to see the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu gym in Long Beach get burned down Sunday night. The owners of the gym stood guard outside for hours upon hours before an errant firebomb lit the building on fire. They then had to endure watching their beloved gym burn down before their very eyes.

In response, we've decided to donate 10% of all June proceeds of our Horizon Roast to help rebuild the gym. We know firsthand how incredibly difficult it is to build something from the ground up and how terrible it is to see that creation get attacked. I can only imagine how it would feel to watch our roastery burn down.

Our Horizon Roast is inspired by the idea that no matter how dark the night may seem, there is always light just over the Horizon. I think it's more than fitting that we can use that message to give some hope to a family and a neighborhood in need. I think it's high time we put our money where our mouth is and spread our message of hope to people who need it much more than we do. If you're good on coffee but still want to make a donation, you can find their GoFundMe here.

As a good friend of mine likes to say;

Everyone wants to rise from the ashes, but no one wants to light themselves on fire.

Well, right now, America is on fire. Let's rise from the ashes - together - and make something beautiful.

Let's do this s**t.


Nick Lowary


Ground Shark Coffee

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