THE HEART OF COFFEE
- INTENTIONAL COFFEE
*Re-uploaded due to deletion of the original site*
Coffee shops are known for their chill, aesthetic and warm atmosphere. That being said, there are many different coffee joints across America but Carl Kim, the co-founder of Intentional Coffee, strives to make Intentional Coffee a shop that stands out from the rest.
Kim had his humble beginnings as a Christian in college and high school. Often it is easy to follow the crowd and this is exactly what Kim did at a young age.
“I attended church when I was a high school student and I met up with friends and school classmates… I just followed them but I didn’t become a real Christian,” says Kim. “One of my close friends invited me to a summer camp with a church so I decided if God really existed, definitely I have to believe. Otherwise, I don’t need to waste my time… But I totally just trusted and became a believer, I was born again.”
Raising of a Dream
Intentional Coffee started one and a half years ago and has been expanded ever since. Kim shares more on his personal background and desire to found Intentional.
“My previous job was Senior Director of Sales & Operations for Paris Baguette, one of the biggest baking companies in Asia, then the company sent me to open [the] first location in LA, it was 2005,” says Kim. “I learned a lot of things but the company’s owned by a private family so I cannot be any partner or something [since Paris Baguette is a big company]”
With his corporate background, Kim was able to take this knowledge and apply it to Intentional. Aside from the business standpoint of the shop, Kim’s main desire for Intentional Coffee is to make it a business of community and support.
“[The] first goal, for priority, is [to] make customers happy and then, for me, I try to make my employees happy. Then I ask them to think of me, not make me happy. So think of me so then we can grow together. So first priority is always customers, I have to make my customers happy and make my employees happy and then they will think of me and altogether the three parties will grow together.”
In addition to Kim’s heart for the community surrounding Intentional and the customers, he desires to become partners with his employees, and doing so, he can help them attain their dreams like he has accomplished his.
“Because [Intentional Coffee] is my dream and there are lots of students here pursue their dream here. So my employees are students, they are fulfilling their dream and I am supporting one of their dreams. We help each other, I’m not just hiring them. I wanna grow together, even though I’m their leader. Later on, maybe, they work with me. I can hire them as my corporate council.”
The Heart of Intentional Coffee
Intentional Coffee is unique from other coffee shops in that they follow a simple slogan: Excellent People, Great Coffee, Good Intentions. This motto is something Kim and his employees strive for in order to make their business stand out amongst the crowd.
“So ‘Excellent people’ means customers and staff altogether, community. ‘Great coffee’, based on good coffee with ‘Good intentions’ we can do lots of things. Our identity is a coffee shop but we’re trying to bring more ‘good people’ serving ‘good coffee’ and behind all of it, we have ‘good intentions’,” explains Kim.
Ultimately the heart behind Intentional Coffee is community and growth based for Kim and his employees strive to put their customer’s happiness above their own in order to create a growing, supportive environment.
“So if I wanna be just happy by myself, I can be happy at the moment but later on, customers and employees are leaving. So everybody needs to be happy but the others first, that’s from the Bible,” says Kim. “We have to love others like as myself, that’s very difficult. But if you really do that, people love it and love you back. It’s not easy to do it, but if you do it, it’ll prosper in the end.”
The Bible explicitly speaks of how God has provided us His love, therefore, we must show that love to others and put their needs above our own. In 1 John 4:19 it states, “We love because he first loved us.” Intentional Coffee and Kim’s heart really show the impact God has on the business and the abundant love for the community.
God the Driver
Through Kim’s heart for the community, ultimately, God’s presence shines through. With every action for Intentional Coffee, God has steered Kim to make his business one that glorifies Him.
“...he drives me. But recently, still, I’m fighting with him. So sometimes I like to drive my own way but I want him to drive, drive me to his own way… sometimes my ego is still fighting,” says Kim.
With starting anything, it can be easy to want to take the wheel from God and try to strive for success with your own will but in the end, God will always steer our lives back to His will. Kim desires to follow through with this and let God reign through his business. We can similarly apply this in our lives by releasing the wheel of our lives to God to steer towards His kingdom.
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