Tom Arts at Succes Koffie
In a contemporary coffee landscape with many newcomers and mirco-roasteries, Succes Koffie is a unique competitor in today’s market.
The Belgian coffee company’s history begins in 1880, in Niel, then still a tiny village. A young couple, Gerardus Van Reeth and Joanna Verelst meet for the first time that year. In 1880 their shared entrepreneurial spirit leads them to found a company that imports colonial merchandise: dried exotic fruit, unfamiliar spices, and coffee beans from Central and South America.
For such a small business it was quite a risk, but it paid off. Over the course of a few generations, the company grows – especially the coffee trade continues to boom. Even World War II doesn’t put an end to the activities of Succes Koffie, as the companie is named, from onwards 1946. They even pioneered the use of the coffee filter and introduced refillable cans of ground coffee …
Tom Arts started working for the niche quality coffee brand in 2016. The specialized coffee roaster, with more than 130 years of expertise, was a unique opportunity for him. We speak to Tom about his evolution to coffee connoisseur.
Why did you want to work at Succes Koffie?
“As the grandson of a coffee roaster, coffee has always been around for me. Driven by curiosity, I realized during my Twenties that starting, shaping and growing things gives me an enormous boost of energy. When the opportunity came to invest and work at one of the oldest coffee roasters of Belgium, it was the perfect opportunity to make the jump.”
Did you always have a passion for coffee?
“As a young boy I didn’t drink or like coffee. I wasn’t even a big fan of the smell of coffee in the morning! During the summer that I turned 16, my grandmother offered me a cup of coffee and encouraged me to slowly try and appreciate its taste and aromas. That was the starting point. But it wasn’t until my early Twenties that I started to drink coffee on a daily basis.”
What does your role at Succes Koffie entail?
“My role is twofold. I enable our team of experts so we can offer great coffee and service to our customers, day in, day out, 7 days out of 7. I make sure that Belgian, European and global customers are drinking good espresso coffee. It’s a modest yet ambitious goal.”
How did the partnership with Fosbury & Sons come about?
“I met Stijn and Maarten trough a mutual friend. I learned about their ambitious project and reached out. During our first meeting it was clear that our two brands have a big overlap in terms of values and ambitions.”
What are the core principles of Succes Koffie that it shares with Fosbury & Sons?
“When I look at Fosbury & Sons, I see a strong connection with the concepts of ‘humanity’ and ‘synergy’. At Succes Koffie we make no compromises on bold teamwork. Through teamwork, we want to create space and time for what matters.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
“Although every day is different in terms of activities and projects, some elements are a daily routine. I take my son to daycare, I have coffee, I connect with the team in both a formal and an informal way, and I enable my team, the suppliers and our customers so they can realize their ambitions and wishes.”