Tazza Pronto exceeds goals in first 10 months

Published on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 22:20 - Written by CASEY MURPHY cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

 Tazza Pronto is off to a “Tylerrific” start.

The single-serve coffee company moved to Tyler 10 months ago and already has exceeded its goals on hiring employees and manufacturing products.

Since starting production here in July, the company is “busting at the seams already in a short amount of time,” Bill Meissner, president and chief executive officer of Tazza Pronto, said Tuesday.

By June, it will have 200 full-time employees in Tyler producing an estimated 100 million single-serving capsules in 12 months, Meissner said in a company report he gave to the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce board.

Meissner said they were looking at different places across the country to locate their facility and chose Tyler because of its centralized location and hard-working labor pool. He said they have 30 states where they are engaged with various retailers.

Clients include Safeway, Albertson’s, Brookshire’s, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Sheraton and Carls Jr. Meissner said they do not have their own brands of coffee yet, and are in the business of making coffee for other people.

Its holding company, Distant Lands Coffee, is based in Renton, Wash., and has had a Tyler facility for years. Tazza Pronto has its own organization that finds coffees from all over the world. It owns two farms and two mills in Costa Rica, as well as a mill in Colombia and sources of coffee from around the globe.

“As an organization, we go through about 48 million pounds of coffee,” Meissner said, adding they also have two roasting facilities that have been producing for more than 18 years.

Tazza Pronto developed its own technology to give the best version of coffee in a single serving.

“We are very pleased with our technology,” he said. “We are winning business like crazy.”

Tom Mullins, president/CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council and Tyler Chamber, said Tazza Pronto’s is a fascinating story. The company was building the airplane while flying it, he said, referring to Tazza Pronto creating a different technology while trying to fill orders for their product.

Mullins knew their job projections for Tyler were conservative when they said they would create up to 200 jobs here.

“I’m firmly convinced we’re going to see maybe double the number of jobs going forward,” he said.

While 200 employees represent producing 100 million single-serving capsules in a year, the Tyler facility is capable of manufacturing 470 million capsules per year, Meissner said.

The company moved into a 44,000-square-foot facility that formerly housed Stenco, a metal stamping company, on Industrial Drive on the city’s northern edge.

Drip coffee is still the most prevalent but is declining rapidly, and single cup coffee is up to 20 percent of all coffee prepared, Meissner said, adding that it is looking at becoming a $2.4 billion category that crosses all age groups.

Companies are beginning to offer other products in single servings, including baby formula, oatmeal and soup.

“This category is just on fire,” he said.

Tazza Pronto is one of several companies that has benefited from Tyler’s tax abatement program, which has seen $55 million invested and brought in almost 300 new jobs, Mullins said.

STARTUP

Also during the meeting, Mullins announced that Wurlpool, a San Francisco-based e-commerce technology startup company, plans to locate to Tyler.

Wurlpool creates and manages online giveaway campaigns to dive traffic to web stores, according towww.wurlpool.com .

Eric Shelton, its founder, visited Tyler in April and plans to move the company here this summer, Mullins said, adding that how many employees it could have is unknown because it is a startup company.

Wurlpool chose Tyler after approaching the Tyler4Tech booth at South by Southwest in Austin in March. He said the business is coming here because they believe they can find investors and technical support from the higher education sector and other technology companies.