Student uses scholastic skills to better his coffee brewing business

Matt Spaulding, Staff Writer

Omar De La Cruz runs XIX Ambar, a coffee bean distribution business, with his father Franklin De La Cruz. While the company was started to benefit themselves, it was also started to benefit those who grow the beans in Franklin’s former home of the Dominican Republic.

“Basically, the idea was to help the people in the Dominican Republic that had the plantation,” Franklin De La Cruz said. “I felt it would be a good idea to help get the coffee abroad.”

Franklin left the Dominican Republic in 1982 and moved to Miami, FL. eventually getting a degree and becoming a physician before moving to Bardstown, Ky.

“Around the time I started liking business, he was transitioning to do a thing on the side and it happened to be that he wanted to do this together,” Omar, NKU freshman said, started becoming interested in business during his senior year in high school  by selling shoes.

The beans are grown in shadows high up in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Franklin said this yields a better growth than if they were grown in the valley.

“It doesn’t have the bitterness you find in others,” Franklin said. “It has a citrus flavor in the background.”

The quality also helps the coffee standout, according to Franklin. Many women make a living separating the beans by hand. The coffee is 100 percent Arabica, organic and is naturally low in caffeine. It is also chemical, residue, and fertilizer free.

“It’s a really strong coffee, but with it being organic and not so much caffeine, it’s really good for you,” Omar said.

XIX Ambar currently sells ground and whole bean coffee at Jungle Jim’s and on Amazon.  They hope to get into big supermarkets like Wal-Mart and Kroger soon. Omar sold a lot to local coffee shops in Bardstown before moving to NKU for school.

Omar said they are selling through the rest of their first batch before moving on to their second batch soon.

“We are just trying to get our name known and see if people like it so we can make some changes to the bag and hopefully do some other things,” Omar said.

Omar is still pondering what path to take with his studies, but does want to see how far he and his father can take this business. He feels there are a number of aspects he has learned from XIX Ambar that aren’t easily learned in a classroom.

Another major lesson Omar has also learned is how much networking and promoting it takes, day in and day out, to have any success. He also learned how to negotiate; a skill he feels is not really taught in school.

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