Five Lakes Coffee makes national list

Article by Ashlee Hoos of KPC Media

​​​​​​ANGOLA — Five Lakes Coffee has been named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the nation.

The company ranked 3,353 overall. Paul Smith and his brother, Jared, co-founded Five Lakes in 2002 in Sturgis, Michigan as Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee.

Known as Five Lakes after a name and branding change earlier this year, the company has six locations: two in Sturgis, one in Battle Creek, Michigan as well as locations in Angola, Auburn and Kendallville.

Paul said they found out in July they’d made the list but didn’t know where they were ranked until Aug. 15 when a press release was sent out and the list went live online.

“We were asked a couple of years ago to apply but we didn’t quite meet the thresholds yet,” he said.

To be eligible for the list, they had to go through an application process. An accountant had to then certify all the numbers before the application could be submitted and approved.

Requirements included having $2 million in sales in a year. The growth rate of the company over three years, from 2014-17, was taken into consideration. Companies also had to be based in the United States.

For Five Lakes, that growth rate was 116 percent.

“We were excited to make the list,” Paul said. “It validates all that we’re doing as a company.”

Along with its shops, Five Lakes offers online sales, which Paul said is becoming a lot bigger focus.

“Our stores grow year to year and the combination of that and our online sales gets us the numbers and growth rates we’ve been experiencing,” he said.

Paul said the Sturgis location was recently renovated and Angola is next on the list to receive work, both inside and outside.

There will be one week the store is closed, Sept. 17-23, to get inside work completed but he thinks customers will enjoy the changes and updates.

He said Five Lakes wouldn’t be what it is without not only the great staff at each location, but also the customers.

“I want to thank not only our staff, as they all work so hard to do good service, but our customers as well,” he said. “We couldn’t do any of it without you.”

The 2018 list is the 36th Inc. 5,000 list to be made. According to a release, companies such as Microsoft, Dominos and Zillow have gained their first national exposure by being named to the same list.