News Release: S&D Coffee and Tea Brings Fresh Perspectives To Commodities Management

CONCORD, N.C. — When Fred Taylor sits at his desk and contemplates the great success that S&D Coffee has realized during his 30-plus years with the company, he is quick to point out that there is always room for improvement. For Taylor, senior vice-president of commodities, a company’s well-being ultimately depends on strategic growth and succession. The good news is that S&D has recently added two employees to its commodities branch who not only impress Taylor, but also invigorate him.

The first is Carlos Palacios, who originally hails from Nicaragua and whose family has been in the coffee-growing business since the late 1800s. Palacios will serve as the coffee procurement manager. The second is Kyle Newkirk, who comes to S&D from The Hershey Company in Pennsylvania. He was considered one of the top commodities minds in the cocoa bean and dairy business and now brings his experience to the coffee, tea, sugar, packaging, fuel and energy realms.

“When we realized that we wanted to add some new employees, we got hung-up on the paradigm of looking for people who do what we were already doing,” says Taylor. “So we decided to modify the model and go outside the coffee business to find Kyle. Then we were able to attract Carlos, who, as a green coffee grower, understands the business from the source. They both come up with ideas and approaches that sometimes have me saying, ‘we hadn’t even thought of that.’ It is very exciting for our company and, in the end, very beneficial to our customers.”

Palacios was educated in America, but eventually returned to Nicaragua to take over the family business. He was searching for a home in America and had known of S&D’s reputation as one of the most respected coffee providers in the world.

“I was raised in the coffee business since I was a little boy,” Palacios says, “I wanted my kids to grow up in the United States. So when I started looking at opportunities, I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to find a visionary beverage company like S&D. I think that my experience and connections in the coffee business can prove very helpful to S&D.”

For Newkirk, who specializes in commodities risk management, the appeal of working for S&D rested in the fact that the company is well established, open-minded and not a huge retail brand.

“S&D is a company on a really aggressive growth pace,” Newkirk says. “But what makes it so great is that the company is always taking a progressive look at how to meet customers’ needs and is open to new and innovative ideas. At the same time, it is a well-established and respected business. That’s hard to beat!”

S&D’s commodities team constantly provides the most up-to-date market information, insight, and analysis to help its customers manage risk. As risk managers, S&D’s trading team looks to create hedging strategies that can be executed without concern for day-to-day or minute-by-minute market fluctuations.

S&D has maintained extensive, long-term relationships with all of the major trade houses and coffee exporters. As a result, S&D has real-time access to market information, allowing it to act quickly on behalf of its customers. The company buys every day and believes in the philosophy of dollar cost averaging. S&D also provides annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly updates and is available around the clock to answer questions.

“We must be doing something right because our competitors are following what we do,” concludes Taylor. “Bringing in top unique talent with fresh perspectives, and becoming more vertically integrated, will continue to keep S&D Coffee and Tea on the vanguard of the industry.”

S&D Coffee, Inc. is the nation’s largest custom roaster and the largest blender of iced tea for the foodservices industry. In continuous operation since 1927, S&D Coffee serves over 80,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery. S&D Coffee has been distinguished for supplier excellence by many of the largest retailers and consumers of coffee and iced tea in the United States. In 2010, S&D added a state-of-the-art Food Innovations and Ingredients production unit which extracts the flavors of coffee, tea and botanicals for use in iced coffee, shakes, iced cream and frozen desserts, energy drinks and other packaged and dispensed products.

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