For the past ten years the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has occupied waterfront offices in downtown Long Beach, California. This space has served us well, albeit at a not inconsiderable cost. Over the past four years the association management has begun to promote two new concepts around how and where we work. The first of these was the adoption of new tools for remote work environments, including VOIP phone systems, increased Video Conference capability and greater use of IM and e-mail services. This allowed us to hire the right people for the job regardless of where they preferred to live. The second was driven by an assessment of how members access and use our headquarters space. In the last few years members have used the SCAA space primarily for lab based training and for meetings. Members also gave us feedback on how they would like to interact with the SCAA, and the overwhelming response was “locally”. That is, members told us clearly that the wanted to see SCAA events, training, and community building near them. To that end, we have committed to changing how and where we are physically located.
As of this writing, now that our lease term is up, SCAA will no longer occupy the nearly 11,000 square feet of prime ocean front space we have leased for the past ten years. Instead, we will reduce our footprint at our headquarters in Southern California by half, and our costs by the same or more. At the same time, we will be embarking on a program to develop a series of regional offices, bringing a consistent SCAA presence to many more parts of the country. Our first planned expansion will be into the Pacific Northwest, but over the next few years we will also be looking for suitable space in the Northeast, the Southeast and the Midwest. Our goal is to dramatically increase our regional presence and to provide a greater level of accessibility for members.