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March 30, 2023

Rwanda Bean to scale back at Thompson's Point in Portland

A man, black, holding a large coffee cup and smiling File photo / Jim Neuger Mike Mwenedata, founder and CEO of Rwanda Bean Co., was honored on the Mainebiz Next list in 2021.

After expanding to Thompson's Point in Portland during the pandemic, Rwanda Bean Co. is pulling the plug on its retail presence there to focus exclusively on its roastery operations, production and wholesaling at that location.

"In order to further drive growth and stability for Rwanda Bean and to continue to deliver on our mission to support the community of Rwanda coffee farmers by sharing their harvests with the wider world, we are going to focus exclusively on our roastery operations, production and wholesaling out of our Thompson's Point location," the company posted on Facebook.

"As of May 1, we will wrap up our retail presence and the Thompson’s Point event team will take over our event and kitchen area as an additional venue offering." 

Rwanda Bean is led by founder and CEO Mike Mwenedata, who was honored on the Mainebiz Next list in 2021 for his contributions to Maine’s economy.

Ben Graffius, Rwanda Bean's chief operating officer, said the company will keep its production based at Thompson's Point amid expectations of "exciting new opportunities" at that location.

Rwanda Bean coffee will continue being served at the Point, Brick South, the Depot Pavilion, Halo, and of course this newest event space," he added.

By making the changes, the company aims to expand its subscription and wholesale services. It also intends to keep operating its coffee shop at 463 Stevens Ave. in Portland, gradually increasing the hours of operation to seven days a week with an expanded menu.

The company pledged to keep all current staff on board as it makes changes to its retail operations, saying, "We look forward to continuing serving people and coffee for years to come while advancing opportunities to support the coffee farmers in Rwanda."

Rwanda Bean's current employee count was not immediately available.

Mwenedata, who earned an MBA from the University of Southern Maine and speaks several languages, founded Rwanda Bean in 2013 as a mission-driven enterprise, giving back half of the profits to coffee growers in Rwanda, the country of his birth. 

He told Mainebiz in 2021 that Portland will always be his home, saying, "I love this city and its communities, and I look forward to continuing to grow with it."

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