When you think about a family business a lot of things could come to mind. Technically, Walmart is a family business (or was for many years). I also have seen the phrase used as a marketing ploy for a company that has grown beyond the family, but people like to hear family owned and operated, so the businesses jump on the bandwagon. I also know many family businesses where the entire family pitches in to make a business successful, because everyone loves each other and has a passion for their role within the company. I think and hope that's where Sagebrush falls.
We started with Jenna and myself working nights and roasting coffee in our small kitchen on Sagebrush Court. We moved, grew into a garage space, then out of the garage into a spare room until we finally had to move into the space we occupy now on Chandler Heights. We then had my mom and sister coming in on weekends to help, until I finally hired my sister Zoë. Every employee we've had so far has had some connection to the family, from friends' children to school friends, to friends of sibling's kids. I know we can't stay this way forever, but I like it this way for now.
Read below to meet the family and how each Kellso uniquely contributes to the family business.
Matt started this business as a way to subsidize his hobby in 2012. He started by combining his love of coffee and coffee roasting with a web design, marketing, and Industrial Engineering background. Matt was born in Michigan and has two UofM parents, but spent his childhood in South Carolina. When he was about 10 he moved to Tempe Arizona and has been in the Tempe / Chandler area ever since. He loves the valley, but hates the heat. This makes the summers a test in patience. Matt graduated from Arizona State University with an Industrial Engineering degree and spent the first decade of his career at Intel doing anything from process improvement projects to forecasting to RFID consulting. He moved on from there to spend the next decade at Spencer's TV & Appliance doing much of the same things. He is now running Sagebrush full time and couldn't be more surprised and encouraged by how the 20 years of his career contributes to his daily work here. In his free time he likes to read, hang out with his family, and is a Pastor / Elder at his church (Grace Bible Church in Tempe)
If you want to read about Jenna's contribution to the start of Sagebrush, you need to look no further than the letter she wrote at the 5 year anniversary of the business. She is the backbone to the business. The glue that keeps everything together. When Matt was working full time and trying to run the business at night, she was the one that would go into the shop and keep things going. When there is something that isn't getting done, Jenna isn't shy to go get it. She has gone in on Saturday nights to inventory, spent 'vacation' rephotographing the tea products, she did so much during the early days that it may not even be quantifiable.
Jenna has spent her entire life in the east valley of the Phoenix metro area. Her lifelong dream was to be a stay at home mom and she was able to fulfill that. Besides being an amazing mother to the three kids listed below, Jenna has spent her free time counseling people at our church and helping with the women's ministries there. She has begun the pursuit of a '2nd career' by going back to college and is heading towards a nursing degree.
Jonathan's fingerprints are all over this company. He designed the original logo when he was only 12 and has stepped in and contributed to all of the design aspects of the business. He is presently a sophomore in community college pursuing an associates degree in music business. He works full time doing a variety of different jobs at Sagebrush from online marketing, design, barista work, menu development, facilities, quality control, and whatever Matt needs that day. In Jonathan's free time he's doing something creative. Whether it is with music, video production, graphic design or a mix of all 3. If you want to see some of his video production work, check out his friend's YouTube channel. Or follow his music on Spotify.
Noah is one of the baristas in our coffee bar, as well as the head roaster for Saturday shipments. His dedication to Sagebrush has been present ever since the company's beginning, and he got started as an official employee as quickly as he could.
Noah has moved past high school and is attending community college. He is currently working his way towards what at this point is a desire to become an architect. He has always loved legos and design and sees that as his future. For now, he spends his time working on homework for his classes and enjoy his free time playing various video games, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.
Eden, although having helped casually for the past however many years, has come onto the Sagebrush team officially as a barista.
Currently, she is attending Hamilton High School and loves spending her free time doing various crafts and perfecting her skills in nail painting.