Grandville-based Littlefoot Coffee Roasters received the 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Michigan State University Product Center during its Making It In Michigan conference.
The award recognizes an emerging MSU Product Center business that achieved unique accomplishments and growth. Alex Burbo and Rosie Quasarano are the owners of Littlefoot Coffee, which roasts and provides a variety of seasonal single-origin and blend varieties — both whole bean and ground.
“We are honored to receive this award from the product center,” Quasarano said. “This has been a challenging year in so many ways, and we’re extremely grateful to all of our supportive customers, the incredible coffee farmers we work with, and our strong wholesale partners. Together, we got through it. We are excited to continue our growth and look for more ways to build community in 2021.”
Mollie Woods, director of the MSU Product Center, said Littlefoot was honored with the award because it was able to raise more than $4,000 for struggling cafés and coffee shops, as well as nonprofits, through its Coffee for a Cause campaign, and donated more than 120 pounds of coffee to their café partners to help them reopen after the pandemic shutdown.
“This demonstrates the type of creativity, innovation and community commitment that Michigan food companies will need to be successful in the long term,” Woods said. “The MSU Product Center congratulates Littlefoot on their leadership and success during one of the most challenging years in recent history.”
Burbo and Quasarano launched Littlefoot Coffee Roasters in 2017 and opened their Grandville warehouse in 2019. The owners said they pride themselves on having personal relationships with coffee farmers.
“We do our very best to honor the hard work and energy that goes into growing coffee. This starts by sourcing directly from farmers when we can, building relationships with trusted importers and always paying above fair-trade pricing,” Burbo said. “We expertly roast each and every batch of our coffee to highlight an origin’s unique qualities.”
Littlefoot Coffee can be found in over 20 stores in Michigan, including select Meijer stores and Westborn Markets. Littlefoot also has a coffee subscription service with weekly, biweekly and monthly options.
In addition to growing its own company, Littlefoot is helping two other women-owned coffee companies by roasting for their private labels.