After seven years, Black Coffee Roasting Co. is losing a local outlet.
Effective next month, the local coffee roaster will no longer supply coffee to Providence St. Patrick Hospital’s Grounds & Grains cafe. The hospital is switching to Starbucks to supply its beans.
According to hospital spokesperson JoAnn Hoven, the changeover date is Feb. 14. When that happens, it will end what Black Coffee’s owners, Matt McQuilkin and Jim Chapman, describe as a strong partnership.
“They were actually one of our first accounts,” McQuilkin said. “Without talking numbers, they're a really good account. They've been a great account for us, in that it's been a regular coffee order.
"We've gotten to know and really like them," he said of the shop's employees, "and I think that they like our company and then the management on the Missoula level has been really wonderful to us over the years as well.”
He and Chapman said they were notified of the change last week.
In an emailed statement, Kirk Bodlovic, chief operating officer for Providence Montana, wrote that, “As a health care organization in the business of providing high quality health care, programs and services outside of patient clinical care are continually reviewed for savings optimization."
Describing the coffee shop as "a nice-to-have, non-essential program," Bodlovic wrote that, "by evaluating cost savings through a multiple-site agreement, we are able to continue to provide this service, continue to employ our baristas, and continue to serve the local community in other ways."
“We wish Black Coffee well and thank them for their great service.”
McQuilkin termed it “a bummer that they're switching to Starbucks and a company that's not supporting the local economy really at all, with the exception of the baristas that will still be serving coffee." He and Chapman are in touch with the hospital chain's leadership about the decision.
But if it goes through, Chapman said, “it's not going to break us by any means. It's just a bump in the road.”
“We'll just keep doing what we do and try to roast the best coffee that we can," McQuilkin added, "and provide excellent customer service, and we'll get other accounts.”