Former Plano school mates, Chris Kittredge and Mark Nash created KuVida Coffee to fund their missionary work in Panama.
Chris Kittredge and Mark Nash were once classmates and teammates on the wrestling team at Jasper High School in Plano but they didn’t get to know one another until a decade later, when they connected through their church and truly bonded over coffee.
Kittredge, KuVida Coffee’s Senior Vice President who also works as a personal trainer, and Nash, a marketer for a medical law firm and KuVida’s CEO, discovered a shared love of coffee when doing mission work in Panama. That’s when they realized coffee was the solution to continue funding their humanitarian work. “The best thing to do if you’re traveling back and forth to a place is bring something with you,” Nash said. “Coffee’s what we carry.”
So in 2015, the duo founded the company, and started traveling to Panama together twice a year. During the first trip they select the plants for the upcoming harvest, then come back to pick up the finished beans; all the while doing missionary work in remote regions of the Central American nation.
Over the past year, they have marketed their coffee online through their website (KuVidaCoffee.com) and in person at venues like the Frisco Farmers Market, where Kittredge called their core philosophy “coffee with a cause.”
These in-person interactions have given the entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level, providing them with overwhelmingly positive feedback, and inspiring them to rebrand from KuDova to KuVida Coffee.
“We were in need of a name that meant something. We took two words that have a powerful idea and put them together,” Nash said. “Kudo is Greek for glory and vida is Spanish for life. We merged those together to create KuVida and communicate who we are and what we’re doing. The old name had a good ring to it, but it didn’t have meaning.”
No matter the company name, Kittredge and Nash continue to focus on personal service. They want their customers, a group which is growing exponentially, to associate their faces with KuVida Coffee.
“The reactions from a consumer standpoint are good. When people usually try our coffee, they question why they’ve been drinking Starbucks, Folgers or these prepackaged Keurig pods for so long,” Kittredge said. “Part of our goal is to not just build relationships, but to expose the world to good coffee. We are relational beings. We were created to have relationships, and we thrive on those things.”
Kittredge and Nash are happy with KuVida’s growth, but they envision doing similar things with coffee and humanitarian work in other coffee-rich countries like Ethiopia, Indonesia and Kenya.
But one thing they’re always mindful of is not expanding too fast. “I do feel like because of our relationship with the God that we serve, we’re highly favored,” Kittredge said. “Most people do not grow this fast, so our goal is to actually grow at a healthy pace.”
Since the story was published in our January 2017 issue of Plano Profile, KuVida Coffee has opened as a coffee shop in Allen.
KuVida Coffee Shop
1206 E Main St #101