We started this thing in a garage.
Wilbur Curtis, a young man living under the palms of Hollywood Boulevard, got the nerve to start something of his own. He had always been obsessed with the overlooked, things that could be made better, simpler. Coffee was one of those things. This was the early forties and not many were paying attention to coffee, let alone coffee equipment. Little had been done to improve upon old standards and archaic ways of looking at the brewing, serving, and business processes of one of his favorite drinks.
So, Wilbur set out to change that.
He moved us out of the garage and set up a small start-up space on Franklin Avenue. With five employees and a lacking amount of square footage, Wilbur and his partner Margaret made their mark bettering what once had been overlooked. It was a make or break mentality in those early days, as any small business owner knows, and under a pounding LA sun, in that stuffy building just off Hollywood and Vine, they started what would one day become a trusted and loved name in the coffee industry.
In the early sixties, Margaret bought the company from Wilbur and ran it herself. From then until the late eighties, Margaret lead the show. She was business savvy, headstrong, and known to threaten to sue the entire US government from time to time. In an era where woman CEOs were few and far between, Margaret was an intrepid leader, and not just for our company.
Wilbur Curtis has been family run ever since. The helm was taken up by Margaret’s son, Bob Curtis, and recently passed down to his son, Kevin Curtis. There are now four generations of the Curtis family that have come into work everyday and pushed tirelessly forward to improve upon what was started in Hollywood, way back in 1941.
We’re no longer a start-up. We now have a big, bad factory to call our home base, the LA skyline sill clouded in the distance. Men and woman from all over come into work everyday in the hopes of making overlooked things better, simpler. We take risks, ask questions, demand more, and search for all that’s still hidden just like we used to in the Franklin Ave days, but with the wisdom of time and the structure in which to truly make great and lasting change.
We started this thing in a garage, and to some extent we’re still a group of tinkerers, forever trying to view our world and industry from a different angle. If being in the coffee business for seven decades has thought us anything, it’s that this is all just getting started. As much as we are proud to stand behind our past, we at Curtis can’t help but have both eyes pointed forward towards the future.
We’re excited for what’s next.