Kootenay Business People of the Year 2017

Kootenay Business magazine's annual Top 10 Business People in the Kootenay/Columbia/Revelstoke areas.

Kootenay Business magazine profiled Kicking Horse® Coffee’s CEO and Co-Founder Elana Rosenfeld in their annual Kootenay Business People of 2017 feature. Read the article below, see the original article here or the full Top 10 here.

She started her coffee business in her garage.
Elana Rosenfeld - Kicking Horse Coffee

Elana Rosenfeld was in her early 20s when she moved from the big city of Toronto to live, work and play in the Columbia Valley. After running a local café for a few years, she and former partner Leo Johnson decided to start a coffee-roasting company in Invermere. The idea took off and what started in a garage blossomed into a brand that is sold on grocery shelves across Canada and the U.S., as well as on Amazon. Today, Kicking Horse Coffee is one of the top-selling whole-bean coffees in Canada. In 2016, the company was also named the 10th Best Place to Work in Canada by the Great Place to Work Institute.

Rosenfeld is proud of her company’s success, but she is also very appreciative of the support the small town of Invermere has given KHC. For this reason and many others, the co-founder and CEO of KHC is one of Kootenay Business magazine’s Top 10 Business People of 2017.

What’s something interesting that not many people know about you? 

I did an undergrad at McGill (University in Montreal, Quebec) and my major was in religious studies and my minor was in women’s studies. So that has certainly shaped my approach to business. I essentially studied ethics for four years in defiance of certain conventions.

What has changed in the business over the years and what hasn’t? 

I’ve always enjoyed my work and it has always been fun. It’s adult play—that’s what I do for fun.

What has changed? 

Just the level we are operating at right now—in terms of structure, organization and efficiency.

What are some things the company does to make Kicking Horse Coffee a fun place to work? 

We do fun days, which we have done since the very beginning. There’s one in the summer and one in the winter when we shut down roasting completely and we do a fun activity—whether it’s a game of pond hockey or broomball, skiing at Panorama, Nordic skiing at Nipika, hiking in the Bugaboos or floating the Columbia River, we just do fun things together. We have lunch provided for the staff three times a week and then we have our once a month, all-staff meeting where we have a big lunch together. We celebrate birthdays and the accomplishments of the month.

What personal strength of yours has contributed to the success of the business? 

I think I’m a visionary.

What is your favourite Kicking Horse Coffee blend? 

I drink all our coffees and love them all but certainly the one I always go back to is Three Sisters.

Finish this thought: success is . . . 

... whatever you want it to be. I think conventional people think success is about financial rewards. But success is really being at the place where you experience a lot of joy, love and peace in your life. We say with coffee, “however you like it,” and I think success is the same thing—however you define it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I love living here. I love this valley and I feel so fortunate to be here and to be able to have created this opportunity for myself 20 years ago. But as you move through business, grow and mature, it becomes more of an opportunity for our community, our town and the valley. It’s just an amazing place to run a business.

//by Kirsten Armleder