Ben Johnson, president of Martin Coffee Company, was named the 2020 JAX Chamber Overall Small Business Leader of the Year. Johnson is the third generation to lead the company following his grandparents and father in the family business.
Martin Coffee Company was founded in 1957, by Fred Martin and his wife Amy, who opened a roasting plant in downtown Jacksonville offering just two blends of coffee –– regular and decaffeinated. When Ben Johnson was named president in 2009, he knew the product line had to be diversified. Today, the company offers 20 different varieties of coffee that meet the changing tastes of current customers.
After being named president he set out to bring the company up to speed, while building on the foundation his family created. He transformed the entire operating system –– one that had only been hand-written in paper ledgers –– adding a website and company email, online ordering system and digitizing the delivery schedule and routes. Today, every aspect of the company is digital and employees have been retrained to use the new technology. Those changes brought growth –– the company now averages 30 new clients a year and has seen annual sales grow by 21% in the last three years.
“Ben started with a traditional, successful family business but knew he needed to make critical changes – some visible, some behind-the-scenes – to modernize and grow the company,” JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis said. “That’s what innovators do. They are continuously looking at opportunities and listening to their customers to stay one step ahead, and that’s why Ben has been so successful.”
Thirteen Northeast Florida business leaders were selected as Small Business Leaders of the Year by the Chamber Councils, the Beaches Division, the Entrepreneurial Growth Division and ImpactJAX. Each of these business leaders then competed for the JAX Chamber Overall Small Business Leader of the Year recognition. In addition to Johnson, who represents the Downtown Council, the 2020 Small Business Leaders of the Year are:
- Katie Little, Allstate Insurance, Arlington Council
- Greg DiFranza, Kamp K-9 Jax Beach, Beaches Division
- Alfreda Boney, Perfectly Suited Career Consulting, Entrepreneurial Growth Division
- Jim Satterwhite, Venture Pointe, Inc., Health Council
- Jon Cagan, Cagan & Cagan, PLLC, ImpactJAX
- Aaron Enos, Sensible Recycling, Inc., IT Council
- Stephen Hudson, Digital Mark Company, LLC, Mandarin Council
- Earl Kelly, EK3 Technologies, North Council
- April Murdaugh, Woman To Woman Financial, Professional Women’s Council
- Peter Denholm, Supporting Strategies –– Northeast Florida, South Council
- Robert Fox, North Florida Warehouse FTZ, Transportation & Logistics Council
- Charles Johnston, HeartWired Digital Solutions, West Council
The award was presented Thursday at the 7th annual Small Business Reception held at 927 Events in Downtown Jacksonville. TD Bank was the presenting sponsor along with silver sponsors Florida Blue and Meskel and Associates Engineering. More information about the JAX Chamber is available at www.myjaxchamber.com.
Photo cutline: (Left to right) 2019 Overall Small Business Leader of the Year, Tina Meskel, founder, president and principal engineer of Meskel and Associates Engineering; 2020 Overall Small Business Leader of the Year, Ben Johnson, president, Martin Coffee Company.
About JAX Chamber
The JAX Chamber is the business membership organization dedicated to driving quality economic growth in Northeast Florida to make this region the best place to live, work and play. Membership provides the opportunity to connect with and buy from other Chamber members. The connections result in business growth and a more prosperous economy.
CONTACT: Leah Goodwyne, (904) 366-6626, email@example.com