The story of Miss Ellie
For Miss Ellie (also known as Ellie Glidewell), coffee is the perfect way to pursue several of her passions while assuring that you get the smoothest cup of coffee available. When her stepfather, Bill McClure, wanted her to be part of his gourmet coffee business – Coffee.org – Miss Ellie said, “Sure, but I want to do it the right way, a way where the benefit gets spread around. Oh, and may I have my line of coffee?”
Miss Ellie has her line of coffee, and the next thing she wanted was direct involvement in choosing the blends that would bear her name. As with everything she does, she is demanding and meticulous in the selection process, working closely with her roaster, traveling to out-of-the-way places, testing, tasting, sitting a spell, and reflecting on it.
“In the morning you want a good cup of coffee to get you going and in a good mood to run out the door,” she says. “The coffees I choose for Miss Ellie’s will do that.”
Then there was the business itself. See, Miss Ellie does not believe in ravaging the environment or misusing people. It is probably in the way she was brought up. Raised to do well and do right, she wanted those principles reflected throughout the entire Coffee.org company. She found the perfect way to do this, through Coffeekids.org, an organization that helps coffee-farming families improve the quality of their lives.
“I was a school teacher, and I just fell in love with kids,” she says. “They’re so imaginative and curious and innocent. If I could have kids working in our business, I would. However, since I cannot, I need to do my share in helping children have better lives. I wouldn’t be involved in any kind of business that didn’t look at a bigger picture than just the bottom line.”
“Since I can’t get there and do it myself, this is the next best thing,” Miss Ellie says. “This way I know that every pound of coffee we sell helps the effort.”
“This isn’t about just roasting a bunch of coffee and seeing who wants to buy it,” Miss Ellie says. “I drink my product. I am my own best customer. I hate horrible coffee. I am not going to let anything get to the customers that I don’t love. My name’s on the bag, and where I come from, you have pride in your good name.”
Ellie Glidewell is a managing partner of Coffee.org. She graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, and loved teaching school before deciding to have a coffee named after her. She is married to Nick Glidewell, whose family has operated Glidewell Distributing, a leading food-distribution business, since 1946. Ellie and Nick proudly live in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the heart of the True South.