April 4, 2018
MINNEAPOLIS – Peace Coffee, an innovative, mission-based coffee company headquartered in Minneapolis, today announced that long-time leader and current CEO, Lee Wallace, has partnered with local entrepreneur Kent Pilakowski to purchase the company from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). IATP and Peace Coffee both agree that an ownership change needed to occur for the brand to continue to realize its full potential in the marketplace.
Since its inception in 1996, Peace Coffee has been on a mission to make great coffee that supports the livelihoods of all involved from farm to cup, and protects the environment in which it’s produced. Under Wallace’s leadership, the company has advanced its roasting and production capabilities, expanded the number of outlets where Peace Coffee can be purchased, and extended its coffee shop footprint, while building upon its national leadership as a sustainable buyer and distributor. Additionally, the company recently became one of the first certified B Corporations in the state of Minnesota. B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability, and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
“IATP established Peace Coffee with the idea that it’s possible to build a business that legitimately took care of all of its stakeholders, and I’m grateful to the organization for providing me with the opportunity and support to help build this innovative and unique company,” said Lee Wallace, co-owner and CEO of Peace Coffee. “With Kent Pilakowski, who has had success in the scaling of businesses, I’m excited to keep building upon Peace Coffee’s achievements and mission as its new owner.”
In 2017 alone, Peace Coffee purchased over 860,000 pounds of organic, fair trade coffee from 25 farmer cooperatives and roasted over 700,000 pounds of coffee. That’s enough to brew over 32 million cups of coffee made with some of the highest quality beans from around the world. Of that number, over 36 percent were delivered to local businesses in the Twin Cities via bicycle – just one of Peace Coffee’s many sustainability initiatives.
“IATP has a long history of incubating and developing innovative projects, and setting them free as successful enterprises,” said Juliette Majot, executive director at IATP. “We are extremely pleased that Peace Coffee will continue to thrive under the guidance and leadership of Lee Wallace.”
The new ownership will look for ways to build upon the success Peace Coffee has experienced as an innovative social enterprise through the maintenance of its culture and mission, the expansion of mission-based business leadership, and the removal of barriers that have limited its potential. Most importantly, this change will allow the company to make a larger impact on the global community through an increase in support and resources from the new ownership group.