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Meet Amanda Pardi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Pardi.

Hi Amanda, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After starting college at the University of St. Thomas, my first job was at Black Coffee and Waffle Bar (BCWB), the local coffee shop just outside of campus. Knowing absolutely nothing about coffee, I spent hours on YouTube learning everything I could to secure the job. What started as a part-time gig to help pay for the new expenses of adulting soon turned into so much more. Not only did I fall in love with the art of coffee making, but the art of capturing it as well. In the midst of completing my marketing degree at UST, I took over the social media accounts for BCWB.

In December of 2019, I temporarily left my job at BCWB to study abroad. That experience was cut short due to the pandemic, which left me bored and antsy in my parents’ basement. I asked my manager if they needed help with the social media again, but when everything closed, there wasn’t really a need for me at the time. The owner, however, had a better idea for me. In 2017, the owner of BCWB invested in a coffee roastery, Vitality Roasting, to supply his shops with coffee.

With businesses receiving COVID relief funding, there was extra financial support for Vitality to grow, which is where I came in. I was given complete creative freedom to market and grow Vitality to become a roastery for the community and not just BCWB. This was one of the hardest challenges I have been given, being that I was not just growing a business from the start, but I was growing it during the pandemic. With the help of our roaster, Aubrey Fisher, we poured our hearts into Vitality and watched it slowly gain traction. A business built on the support of our friends and family transitioned into a name the community knew. We made custom roasts for bakeries, launched a variety pack, created new blends, and built a name for ourselves.

It is such a rewarding transition to watch your hard work pay off, but it truly was only the beginning for Vitality. In the past year, we were able to completely rebrand our labels, open a coffee shop in the Minneapolis Skyway, and bring three more roasters onto our team. Our wholesale program is growing rapidly, and we have sold coffee to over 20 states. For a little roastery based in St. Paul, it has been an adventure to chase all our goals and continue to hit them. The support and love we have received from so many people fuels us and our passion for the art and science of coffee. We are beyond excited to continue this momentum moving forward!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
At some point in running a business, you realize that struggles are supposed to be a part of the road. A smooth road is the farthest thing from what I would call our experience with Vitality, but every bump, twist, and turn has put us exactly where we are. It took the team and I a while to understand this, but once we could change our outlook on things not going the way we expected, the process of growth became a little more enjoyable. For starters, the real expansion of Vitality started during the beginning of the pandemic. Most restaurants and coffee shops weren’t even open, and if they were, starting new business partnerships was no one’s focus. We leaned heavily on our family and friends to support us during this time. In general, the learning curve of machine malfunctions, shipment delays, spelling errors, limited budgets, and so on were only lessons of patience, creativity, and thoroughness. Growing pains in business are real, but they have been opportunities to better both our individual selves and our company overall.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a freelance photographer and marketer for small businesses. My main job is with Vitality Holdings Group as the Head of Marketing and Sales for Vitality Roasting, Black Coffee and Waffle Bar, Acadia Cafè, and Milk and Honey. On the side, I do marketing for Vegan East as well as wedding and lifestyle photography. Vitality Roasting is the work I am most proud of because of how many challenges we faced and overcame while still growing and succeeding. The team we have been able to create and the community we have been immersed in have been life-changing. Being a female-operated roastery in a heavily male-dominated industry is rewarding, but being able to support and teach each other has created a work environment based on love and authenticity. Apart from that, I love working with small businesses to help share their passions most effectively through story-telling. Combining this with my love for photography challenges my creativity to be more than just an aesthetic picture but a visual story of a person, team, or company’s purpose.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Success and failure are equal learning experiences if you allow them to be. In addition, numbers aren’t everything. Being a profitable business is important. As important are the relationships you form throughout the process, the individual growth that occurs, how you can positively impact your community, and your efforts to be aware of the footprint your business is leaving. We live in a very number-focused society, but there is an endless amount of success that will come into your life through your passions that cannot be measured in numbers.

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Amanda Pardi

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