Kenton Campbell

Kenton Campbell

At just five years old Zarraffa’s Coffee Managing Director and Founder, Kenton Campbell, exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit, starting up a bottle collection agency collecting all the bottles in his neighbourhood to redeem for coins at his local Safeway in his home town of Eugene, Oregon in the USA.

At 17, Kenton joined the US Navy and served for close to three years as an Operations Specialist on a Dive Fair program but was medically discharged just prior to the first Gulf War.

As a 20-year-old in 1990, Kenton worked as a waiter and started to get interested in business, while key moments in the next couple of years also helped shape his business focus and a love affair with coffee.

Kenton’s first venture was a cleaning business, which led to a fortuitous encounter with a client and an answer to the differences he felt from peers. From there Kenton took a job selling advertising, which led to another key moment on the road to success.

Soon after a successful start up, Kenton learnt a hard lesson about subleasing when the shop owner he was subleasing the cart from wrapped up the business from under him. Just prior to closing the cart down, Kenton had a chance meeting with two Australian businessmen who walked past his cart. Little did Kenton know that this encounter would change his whole life as the businessmen were in Seattle to investigate current coffee trends.

Nine months later in 1995, Kenton made the move to Australia as a consultant to the espresso coffee trade, educating the industry about the added value espresso carts could bring to their business and working as a Barista.

After convincing his wife to co-sign a $9,000 personal loan they established Zarraffa's, on the Gold Coast, in 1996. What was originally a roasting house operating from the backstreets of Southport on the Gold Coast, where customers would come in for their coffee and perch on hessian bags of unroasted beans, has become a franchise success story.

Celebrating 23 years in retail in 2020, the proudly Australian-owned and operated company has become something of an essential coffee experience for many Queenslanders, in Western Australia since 2012 and through expansion into New South Wales in 2018.

In mid-2019, Kenton launched his next venture – Distillery Road Market (DRM); a destination designed to celebrate a love of fresh produce, dining and entertainment. Located advantageously along the Gold Coast/Brisbane growth corridor in the rapidly growing Logan City. DRM is now home to the national headquarters of Zarraffa’s Coffee, its award-winning roastery and bespoke Kiwanda Café. Set to open at the end of 2021, DRM will become a source of regional growth and a magnet for tourists and the global food generation, producing vibrant events and housing an active marketplace.

Reflecting back on how far he has come, both geographically, professionally and personally, Kenton says… “It has taken me time to understand some of life’s lessons but most importantly that just when you think the worst thing in the world has happened to you just look around the corner as there is probably an opportunity that can change your life too. Now I’m a believer.

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