Geovanni Leiva Brings Family Coffee from Guatemala to Leiva's Coffee in Sherwood

by Brandon Riddle  on Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 12:00 am  

Geovanni Leiva, co-founder of Leiva’s Coffee, roasts a batch of coffee beans. | (Photo by Wil Chandler)

He has since established a home in Arkansas, marrying his wife, Alana, and starting a family of his own.

While calling the Natural State home, Leiva remains tied to Guatemala. Trips to his home country piqued Leiva’s interest in giving back through a coffee business that uses Guatemala’s valuable commodity. Leiva travels to his family’s farm at least once a year, helping to harvest coffee beans for production.

Leiva said the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” serves as a constant reminder of his goal.

Realizing how little Guate-malan coffee producers earn, Leiva said he sought change that cut out the middle man and resulted in greater income for employees.

Even as the small business expands, the Leivas haven’t forgotten the value of the hard-working growers they employ. The story of two boys who came to the farm seeking work in 1989 is placed prominently in the company’s history. The boys were not turned away. Instead 8-year-old Paulino James and 10-year-old Albert James were given a place to live and work on the Leiva farm. Paulino James still works for the Leivas as head farmer.

“My mom raised us to help other people,” Leiva said.

Leiva’s Coffee has partnered with Lan Vwa (“the voice” in Haitian Creole) of Wexford, Pennsylvania, an organization that promotes access to education for students in developing regions. The business is a partner in the nonprofit’s efforts to create technology-enriched classrooms in Haiti and Guatemala.

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock is the company’s largest buyer. In addition, Leiva’s coffee sells its products at the North Little Rock Athletic Club and Little Rock Racquet Club and in churches such as Summit Church in North Little Rock and First Baptist Church in Little Rock.

Twenty-five percent of the business’ revenue comes from online sales at Leiva said he sees greater potential in expanding the online market as a global source for sustainability-minded coffee production.


Read more articles from this week's focus on small and family-owned businesses:

Family Tree Thrives at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics

Fort Smith’s Pruitt Tool & Supply Co. Going Global

Brothers Take Creative Act to New Cranford Co.



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