Lee Wallace Peace Coffee Queen Bean and now owner in the quality control lab at the Head Quarters and Roastery location in South Minneapolis

Peace Coffee: New Ownership, Same Mission

By Teresa Kenney

Lee Wallace, CEO of mission-based coffee company, Peace Coffee, has partnered with local entrepreneur Kent Pilakowski to purchase Peace Coffee from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Since its inception in 1996, Peace Coffee’s mission was to make great coffee that not only supported the livelihoods of all involved, but also protected the environment. Under Wallace’s leadership, the company has advanced its roasting and production capabilities, expanded the number of outlets where Peace Coffee can be purchased, and extended its coffee shop footprint. The company was also one of the first certified B Corporations in Minnesota, and as Minneapolis small businesses phase in the $15/hour minimum wage by 2024, Peace Coffee reports that it plans to exceed that ahead of schedule.  

“IATP has a long history of incubating and developing innovative projects, and setting them free as successful enterprises,” said Juliette Majot, executive director at IATP, in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that Peace Coffee will continue to thrive under the guidance and leadership of Lee Wallace.”Peace Coffee 12 oz packages at the Lakewind's Foods Coop in Richfield, MN

In 2017, Peace Coffee purchased more than 860,000 pounds of organic, fair trade coffee from 25 farmer cooperatives and roasted more than 700,000 pounds of coffee — enough for 32 million cups of joe. The business has 58 employees: 40 full-time and 18 part-time. In 2017, revenue was in the $7 million - 10 million dollar range.

“IATP established Peace Coffee with the idea that it's possible to build a business that legitimately took care of all of its stakeholders, and I’m grateful to the organization for providing me with the opportunity and support to help build this innovative and unique company,” said Wallace in a statement. “With Kent Pilakowski, who has had success in the scaling of businesses, I’m excited to keep building upon Peace Coffee’s achievements and mission as its new owner.”

Source: Peace Coffee