One Year Later...
April 17, 2020
To Our Community,
One year ago today, we came to you with a commitment to change our name. We recognized that our use of the Kickapoo name, originally intended to honor the Kickapoo River Valley we call home, was an appropriation of the Kickapoo Nation. While we did not have a new brand in place, we wrote that we wanted to share our decision with you in real time, knowing that this would be a long and uncertain process.
Over the past year, we maintained our conversations with representatives of the Kickapoo Nation, hosted a community event with Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Chairman Lester Randall in our hometown, ceased production of any new branded merchandise items, and worked to redesign our company’s identity.
On April 24th, 2020, we had planned to reveal our new name and brand to you all online and in-person at the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual Coffee Expo. But in March, the full reality of COVID-19 set in, and with it a new set of unexpected challenges.
On March 24th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued an order to shelter in place. Our cafes closed their doors (they have since re-opened for takeout service), our office staff transitioned to remote work, our vendor partners alerted us to delays in shipping and completion of our new branded items in order to ensure the safety of their workers, and our many grocery and cafe customers prepared for one of the most challenging periods in their businesses’ histories.
We know time is of the essence. Every day that we continue to sell our coffee under the Kickapoo name is an act of appropriation. But we have had to grapple with the reality that we are in uncharted waters, and releasing a new brand at the peak of a global pandemic that is impacting so many people feels inappropriate.
We deeply regret this delay and know that this news may be disappointing and frustrating. Like all small businesses during this time, our attention has had to pivot to focusing on the crisis at hand. Asking our overwhelmed staff and retail partners at the frontlines––from grocery clerks to cafe managers––to bear an even greater burden at this time in order to facilitate this transition feels irresponsible.
We, like all of you, cannot predict what the next few months will bring. But we are working diligently to finish our rebrand and plan to share it with you by August 3rd.
In the absence of a new name, we want to offer as much transparency as possible in this process. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or feedback. We will also continue to update the Name Change page on our website as the situation develops.
Alongside so many small, local businesses, we have been overwhelmed by our community’s support over the last few weeks. As we all face this tumultuous time in our national history, your encouragement is what is keeping us afloat. But deserving your support means holding ourselves accountable to all our mistakes, imperfections, and disappointments.
This is the honest and messy reality we find ourselves in today, and we are humbled to have you continue on this journey with us.
We wish you and your family good health during this time.