After nearly five decades in the coffee business, Galaxie Coffee has built a strong reputation in New York because of its expertise in the industry and its customer dedication. “Longevity is the key,” co-founder Neil Robbins says. “Our customers know they will deal with an owner for absolutely everything. I’m always involved and love visiting with our customers and selling to new customers myself.”
The Farmingdale, N.Y.-based company was founded in 1969 by Robbins and his father, Leonard Robbins. CEO Ed Seidenberg and his partner Joe Gregori joined Galaxie Coffee in 2005, bringing with them a Keurig distributorship from Green Mountain. Over the last decade, the team has more than doubled the company’s size, primarily through organic growth.
Today, Galaxie Coffee is a full-service coffee and beverage provider to businesses throughout New York. About 75 percent of the business comes from serving corporate customers and the rest is from small businesses. One of the things that has always set Galaxie Coffee apart from the competition is its level of customer service.
The attention Neil Robbins and his team give every day was what originally drew Seidenberg and Gregori in to the business. “It is a company that is really focused on providing customer service,” Seidenberg says. “We have always competed with large entities, and we provide a level of service that allows us to differentiate ourselves and do so at a competitive price.” During their first meeting, Robbins visited six customers with Seidenberg who was left in awe of Robbins’ customer bonds. “I was very impressed with the relationships,” he remembers. “They weren’t superficial. There was a certain mutual respect that was apparent. It was a nice experience to see with my future partner.”
Robbins looks back on Galaxie Coffee’s 1960s roots as a wonderful time to do business because everyone knew everyone. “Nowadays, it is more challenging to know your customers because of email, texting and the Internet,” he says. “Customer appreciation days are just one of the many ways we try and forge deeper relationships. I spend most of my time in the field getting to know our customers better. I’m sure my partners would agree, it’s time well spent.”
Galaxie Coffee has expanded its product lines over the years by acquiring Regal Coffee, Marlin Beverage and All Island Janitorial Supply. “We looked at how we could add more to the product line,” Robbins explains. “We sell to schools, corporate offices, office buildings and bagel stores – why not sell them janitorial supplies? We are really expanding our product line and provide one-stop shopping for a very wide range of products.”
All Island Janitorial Supply offers everything a business needs to maintain a clean and sanitary space. Galaxie delivers all of its products together and provides one invoice. In addition, it offers a complete line of eco-friendly “green” paper products and cleaning supplies, which Seidenberg says are just starting to become more economically priced and the company continues to get the word out to its customers.
“Corporate America, in many instances, has resisted the move to use eco-friendly products and most often the reason is price,” he explains. “If everyone began using them the prices would decline. We are caught in a cycle that hasn’t changed in several years, but now I’m beginning to see more interest from our corporate customers. The challenge for us is to find high quality, less costly, eco-friendly products to bring to our customers. We will lead the way and be more competitive. I’m willing to do that to get our customers doing the right thing.”
Galaxie Coffee recently partnered with City of Saints, a coffee roaster based in Brooklyn, to provide its customers with specialty ground coffee and cold brew coffee. “We added both items in fall 2015 and it has been very successful,” Seidenberg notes. “Similar to a craft brewer, City of Saints is a craft roaster and roasts in small batches. Their coffee is a cut above and their commitment to quality is what inspired us to partner with them.”
The company added cold brew coffee in response to its growing popularity. “We are watching trends and with City of Saints, for example, we are able to get a better view of coffee trends at the retail level,” Seidenberg says. “They showed us how they were doing cold brew and it was impressive. Once we get people to try it they’re hooked on the taste.”
Moving forward, Galaxie Coffee plans to focus even more on providing a higher level of customer service by providing additional staff training and rolling out some new programs aimed at broadening relationships. The company also plans to continue working closely with City of Saints to determine which of their retail products can cross over into business offices. “Retail items find their way into the office, it’s just a question of when,” Seidenberg explains. “We will stay on top of what’s coming down the pipe in the future.”