Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network


Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company


Beth Spong(Orange, MA)  Dean’s Beans, a 30-year-old organic coffee company, transitioned to a 100% employee-owned cooperative on June 30, 2023, allowing the original owner, Dean Cycon, to retire and pass on his legacy to the team who had been running day-to-day operations for over a decade.  

A Massachusetts SBDC - Western Region senior business advisor worked with the new CEO Beth Spong [photo] and her team weekly to meet the timeline of completing the transition plan by early December. A business plan was written for the transfer of the business to a worker-owned coop.  

The advisor provided critical in-depth coffee industry research that was extremely helpful and helped the client secure funding. The advisor also researched and shared IBIS reports for review and shared international shipping information from the Massachusetts Export Center and additional IBIS reports on the U.S. retail market. Plans are underway to pass on increased wholesale prices for rollout prior to year-end. The client and advisor discussed ways to prepare other owners for increased responsibility and the idea of doing an StrengthsFinder assessment for the team.  

This success story results in the continuation of 16 well-paying jobs, growth opportunities for employees transitioning to owners, and serves as an excellent example of thoughtful, mission-focused transition planning.

“I collaborated with a Massachusetts SBDC senior business advisor who provided invaluable expertise and research articles and data on the coffee industry while I wrote the business plan to secure funding for purchasing Dean's Beans. Given her extensive experience working with businesses, she also offered excellent advice on effective strategies during times of transition. We still stay in touch, and I trust her expertise for future needs.” ~ Beth Spong, CEO


Dean's Beans