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Gary Grant, founder of Imbibe Coffee Roasters in Dublin 8. Killian Broderick/TheJournal.ie

'We pack it up with bags of coffee': Dad-of-two Gary Grant on what his car means to him

The founder of Imbibe Coffee Roasters in Dublin 8 talks home deliveries, weekend walks and his Peugeot SUV.

FOR MOST OF us, a ‘great car’ isn’t about engine types or alloy wheels. It’s something that gets us where we need to go: it keeps us warm on frosty mornings; and hosts everything from singalongs to arguments to supermarket runs.

In My Car And Me, a new series in partnership with DoneDeal, we’ll be hearing from Irish people about what their four wheels mean to them, and what having a car allows them to do.

Gary Grant is a dad of two who lives in Dublin 8. He chatted to us about family life, leaving the finance industry for the world of coffee roasting, and breaking down across two lanes of traffic on the motorway…

The shape of my week has changed a lot in the last year. We have eight-year-old twins who are home from school, so right now I try to be close to home two days a week, and closer to the roastery three days a week. But that’s not set in stone. My wife has a ‘proper job’ so if she has a three-hour Zoom call, I can be with the kids.

I count myself very lucky because in my line of work, I can be flexible in a way that many people can’t. This afternoon I’ll go to the Iveagh Gardens with the kids, we might get some ice cream on Grafton Street. A year ago that would never have happened on a weekday. It’s one of the silver linings of this pandemic.

My free time is precious to me. As a business owner, you work every day, so carving out time to devote to the kids is very important.

_P5B1551 Gary with his Peugeot 3008 SUV: 'The rest of the team in the roastery see it more than I do.' Killian Broderick / TheJournal.ie Killian Broderick / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

My car plays a huge role in my business, but I’m usually not the one driving it. The rest of the team in the roastery see it more than I do, if I’m honest. It’s a 2018 Peugeot 3008 SUV with two seats up front, so we pack it up with cans and bags of coffee and use it for deliveries around Dublin.

Both my house and the roastery are in Dublin 8, so I can drive to work, leave the car there for the next day’s deliveries, and walk home later in the day.

Before the Peugeot, I had a really, really, really old car. It broke down one day across two lanes of traffic on the motorway. The Gardaí arrived and I was basically told, ‘Yeah, there’s no fixing that.’ My current car was a forced purchase in some regards, but it’s now an invaluable part of the business. 

_P5B1454 (1) At home in Dublin 8. Killian Broderick / TheJournal.ie Killian Broderick / TheJournal.ie / TheJournal.ie

In the roastery, there’s never a typical day for me. There’s always a minor crisis to manage. It’s a bit of a mess but I adore it. There is nothing I’d rather be doing than this.

My previous career was fine, but it was just fine. I didn’t feel any passion for it. I worked in finance, and was of course fortunate to have the job, but when the recession hit I knew I had to do something else.

I was watching a documentary about the coffee industry one night and that was where the seed of an idea came from. That was twelve years ago now.

I imported roasted beans from the UK for nine years, and the day of the Brexit vote in 2018, I decided it was time to set up my own roastery.

The point of having a business in many ways is to be able to give something back. In our first year, we gave 1% of turnover to Women’s Aid. One of the coffees we were buying was from an all female co-op so it tied in with that. From there we started doing more. Now, as well as Women’s Aid, we also give 1% of turnover back to staff and put 1% towards projects directly benefitting the people who farm our beans.

I think the lockdown made Irish people look at the companies they were buying from and start to make more informed decisions. People say things like ‘I am humbled’ and it sounds like a cliché, but I have genuinely been humbled by the support people have shown us over the last year. 

Our home retail business was non-existent this time twelve months ago. Then the pandemic hit and we lost so much of our wholesale trade. People saw that they could support us by buying our coffee online and things went from there.

I’m not a ‘car person’ but my car plays a vital role in my routine. It’s important to us to do as many deliveries ourselves as we can. The customers prefer it, and we prefer it. We can chat to people, meet new customers, and if there’s a problem, we can rectify it immediately. We couldn’t do what we do as efficiently without the car.

DoneDeal hosts the widest selection of cars for sale in Ireland, with 72,000 on sale today. The vast majority of those, 51,000, are from over 1,000 trusted local car dealerships that offer certainty in your purchase through warranties and history checks. To check out DoneDeal’s range of cars from all of Ireland’s trusted car dealerships, see here.

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