Capitol Coffee’s Investment in Adaptation - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Capitol Coffee’s Investment in Adaptation


When Capitol Coffee was founded in 1979, it followed the traditional pattern laid out by other office coffee distributors before it: Load the truck with product, drive to the customer and provide the customer with the products they need. But conversations with customers uncovered additional needs and wants that Capitol could fulfill. So the company adapted.

Today Capitol Coffee is a full-line breakroom and janitorial supplies distributor that “dabbles in office supplies,” according to CEO Charles Brunson. And “coffee is still our passion.”

But the company’s success stems from continually being willing to adapt to changing market demands – and technology has played a significant role along the way.

Brunson recently spoke with me for the latest 7 Minutes With … executive interview, available here.

In the late 1990s, Brunson and his brother Ben saw an opportunity with the evolution of the Web, so they built their first website. “It was a basic, out-of-the box website,” Charles Brunson says. But it gave them an initial platform to build from.

From there, the Brunsons focused on integrating their platforms and building online ordering functionality – a huge step up from the physical order cards that had been used up to that point. Today, about half of the orders come through the Web platform, with much of the rest resulting from its unique “concierge service.”

There are still some holdouts, Charles Brunson says; those who still use the phone or even fax machines to place orders. But the early investments in technology allowed the distributor to evolve beyond the basic coffee delivery service into one that fulfills more customer needs – from paper to soda machines to even cleaning the coffee pot in the breakroom, he says.

Listen to the entire 7 Minutes With … interview, highlighting Capitol Coffee’s evolution by clicking on the video below.

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.