From the Dorms to the Shelves: A look into the entrepreneurial journey of Quick Sip Coffee

From launching in a dorm room at Trinity University to securing space on the shelves of Central Market, Quick Sip Coffee has evolved into a company rooted in mission and aimed at celebrating the rich food culture of San Antonio.

Beginning in 2017, Quick Sip was founded by Jacob Hurrell-Zitelman and Selena Davila as part of an entrepreneurial competition hosted by Trinity University. As the winners of the competition, Hurrell-Zitelman and his team have continued to build and expand their company.

“I started Quick Sip when I was a freshman in college at Trinity,” Hurrell-Zitelman said. “It was an entrepreneurship project that turned into a business for life.”

In its initial stages, Quick Sip worked with established brands to help develop their product. Those partnerships — mixed with a staunch work ethic — allowed for the company to grow at a tremendous pace.

“We kind of just rinsed and repeated hustling bottles in general until we grew into something real,” he said.

Quick Sip found early and quick success in things like securing capital, however encountered unique challenges associated with being young entrepreneurs. One of those challenges being a lack of expertise which, according to Hurrell-Zitelman, would’ve been combated with establishing a board of advisors.

“What we’ve learned is having this board of advisors or having a legitimate board is critical because they provide the knowledge, the know-how and then also kind of legitimacy,” he said.

In terms of successes, Hurrell-Zitelman attributes that to the devoted work ethic of the Quick Sip team.

“I think what we have done well was just work really hard,” he said. “I mean work ethic was a big reason why we got to where we are today.”

This determination is exemplified in one of Quick Sip’s most recent successes, hitting the shelves of Central Market. The process of getting into the grocery store was less difficult than Hurrell-Zitelman anticipated, however it did require a substantial amount of prior legwork including product and brand development, both critical components.

“If you’re starting a food company it’s not only creating a good product but also creating a brand that people can resonate with,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic not only interrupted the timeline in which Quick Sip made it into Central Market stores, it also forced the team to reevaluate many of the businesses’ fundamentals.

“I think it really made us understand where business model flaws were, or it exposed what the future looked like very quickly,” Hurrell-Zitelman said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 70 percent of Quick Sip’s revenue came from office accounts which significantly decreased due to widespread shutdowns.

“We went to zero in revenue for a little bit which is crazy,” he said.

The coffee business continued to have expenses and with no revenue coming in, the Quick Sip team reassessed and pivoted their focus in order to adapt to the changing circumstances.

“We realized in that moment that if we wanted to grow and be a real brand, we needed to get into grocery stores,” he said.

As a tenant of the Maestro Center, Hurrell-Zitelman believes that Quick Sip has been able to expand not only in production, but in a broader sense.

“I think it played a significant role in being able to grow our business in a cost-effective way and also in a regulatory sense,” he said. “I think it helped us gain legitimacy and in space we knew really nothing about.”

Ultimately, Hurrell-Zitelman and the Quick Sip team hope to continue expanding their brand and reinforcing their mission nationwide.

“We want to grow as much as we possibly can on the bottle side and be in every grocery store in America,” he said. “I think just pushing forward as much as we can to spread the love of great coffee as far as we can is our main goal.”

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