The post on his Facebook page, Nov. 14 was straightforward and gracious.
Today I’m leaving Heine Brothers’ Coffee after 19 incredible years in the coffee business. My business partner, Mike, our amazing staff and customers will continue the business. I wanted to thank you all for helping make my life so awesome – I love to get up in the morning! I’m deeply grateful for my life and the opportunity to cocreate with you this magical company that is changing this community and the world, every day, one small step at a time. I look forward to continue living in the magic with you all. Blessings!! Love you!
It packed a jolt as strong as Sumatra yet friends and patrons are posting on the positive side.
Gary has been serving great coffee and good works alongside friend and business parter Mike Mays since 1994 in Louisville. A cup of kindness and a community hub for music, media and fellowship, Heine Brothers Coffee grew as a business as we all grew into our roles in life. The children who once shared a hot cocoa with their parents might be in the drive-through scoring some brew on their way to the office.
The echo of the statement made by Mike Mays and his merger with Chuck Schnatter’s Vint still reverberates though the city. The efforts of Mays and Heine have impacted Louisville’s cultural and political and evironmental landscape for the good.
From all indications, a positive note was hit and an emotional chord touched, yet not many have heard from Gary. The Heine Bros. Coffee branding should be left intact as Gary leaves his name with the store. His new journey seems to already be in progress.
After returning from a visit to Lily Dale, NY, in the western part of the state, Gary was willing to talk about his departure from the coffee business and an emergence into new projects, I sent a few questions that had been on my mind in hopes to achieve some sense of balance in the merger story. Since it was conducted via email, I am choosing to run part of our conversation in Q&A format.
LAMB: On the other side of Thanksgiving and the departure from Heine Bros, for what or whom are you most thankful?
HEINE: I’m thankful for my four children, Cleo, Sam, Gwen and Jacob. I’m deeply grateful for my life. I’m grateful for how transformation can happen in life in a moment and how it leads to doors that open amazing opportunity to recreate ourselves. And to be able to walk that adventurous road more deeply into who we truly are. I’m thankful that I’ve had many experiences of this transformation and have shared it with many people. And I’m thankful to be able to help people create this transformation in their life, help bring this magic into the world.
In a C- J story, Mike Mays said of Vint and Heine Bros., “We decided, why are we continuing to compete?” It’s challenging enough operating a small business in 2011.” What are your thoughts? Did you ever put an option on the table?
I think it can make sense for companies in the same business to merge and create economies of scale. It’s even more important to maintain the things that made these companies unique and magical. That’s always the challenge with growth.
As far as my options, Mike had been working on this merger plan for a number of months without my knowledge. On October 17th, we had a meeting where he triggered our buy-sell agreement that we wrote in 1994. Basically, it gave me 15 days to either buy Mike’s shares for the price he came up with (which he didn’t want me to do, he said he wanted to run the business) or then I would be obligated to sell my shares after those 15 days to him for the same price. That’s why everything happened so quickly and why I didn’t really have any time for options. I’m not complaining about it. I signed the buy-sell agreement in 1994, too.
Tell me about your involvement with 15 Thousand Farmers and other passions regarding work in the sustainable community?
15Thousand Farmers is teaching 15thousand Louisvillians across the city how to simply grow food at their home or in their neighborhood. There is nothing more fun and magical and healthy than to connect with Mother Nature in your back yard and grow the salad that’s on the table. And to share this bounty with family and friends! We’re creating a community around growing our own food that really celebrates this. It’s a way for us to take a small step together to take care of ourselves, our family and friends in an important way.
It seems that it was through the coffee business that you became aware of sustainability, community-wise and globally. Did you grow into the green because of Heine Bros.?
Co-creating Heine Brothers’ gave me the opportunity to experience the powerful effect of community building with sustainable, local action both around the world and here in Louisville. Many amazing opportunities developed out of this, many amazing people I’ve met, that I’m grateful for.
What roles are you considering in Louisville? Business, non-profit? Art, culture?
For many years, I’ve been interested deeply in two things: how we transform ourselves and how we create magic in our life, how magic is powerfully alive, how it makes us come alive. I’ve been working with energy healing for a number of years and now have the opportunity to study alternative healing on a couple of fronts. I’m enrolled in the School of Spiritual Healing and Prophecy in Lily Dale, NY. There I have the opportunity to work with healers from around the world to develop my energy healing skills and mediumship abilities. I’m excited to bring this back to Louisville.
Over the past several years, I’ve experienced a deep change in my life by reconnecting with my ancestors for their help. This belief that our ancestors don’t go away when they die but stay and help us live a great life has been lived by indigenous peoples for many, many thousands of years.
In January, I’ll be traveling to Ontario to learn Biophoton Therapy, a tool for helping people to heal themselves that uses light to correct imbalances at our deepest levels of being. This safe, non-invasive modality has been developed over the past 25 years in Europe and is just being taught in North America. They’ve had tremendous success in helping many thousands of people there and I’m excited to bring this therapy to Louisville in 2012.
I’m also open to the possibility of other ventures into small business.