Spotlight on Small Business: Blue Sail Coffee

Kyle Tabor is the founder and owner of Blue Sail Coffee Roasters in Conway. Blue Sail first opened its doors in 2014, and Tabor explains the business as an expansion of the time he spent backpacking in Europe when he was 20 years old. 

Tabor said he was in college at the University of Central Arkansas feeling lost and uncertain about his future. 

So to remedy this, “I did what any depressed 20-year-old would do and set off on a solo backpacking trip across Europe,” he said.

It was during his time in Europe that he fell in love with coffee culture. He was intrigued to see the way coffee could create a sense of community. 

When he returned to the states, he felt inspired and had a newfound courage to share his experiences. Thus, Blue Sail came to fruition when Tabor was 21 years old. When the café opened, it was bare bones. The furnishing and the decor in the café came about through Tabor pulling together what he could find through things like Facebook marketplace and yard sales.

After many successful years, he said he hopes to be able to remodel the cafe within the year. The decor inside, he said, is inspired by his love for exploration. The name “Blue Sail” is a metaphorical nod to his surfing adventures and love for the outdoors. The spirit of adventure is at the heart of all Tabor does.

“The mission of my company is to inspire people to adventure more,” he said.

Keeping the mission statement at the forefront of all he does in his own life along with his business, Tabor loves to get involved with environmental conservation efforts.

“We want to protect and preserve the beauty in the world so people are constantly inspired to seek out those places,” he said. 

One of the many ways Tabor is trying to protect the beauty in the world is through Blue Sail’s partnership with the Buffalo River Foundation. Tabor said that though he has traveled all over the world for his job and seen some incredible places, the Buffalo River in the spring is one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

The river has been listed as endangered more than once over the last 10 years. Tabor stated that he doesn’t think Arkansans realize the treasure they have, as the Buffalo River was the United States’ first national river. Through the buffalo cleanup event, which he hopes to repeat next year, Tabor stated he is trying to gather people to pick up trash, raise awareness about the Buffalo River’s endangered status and spread the word about its beauty and how it needs to be protected. 

Tabor’s care for the environment doesn’t end locally. In fact, he said the involvement with the Buffalo River clean-up is just a local representation of what he is trying to do globally.

“It’s not hard to make delicious coffee. What makes a company great is what it’s trying to do that’s bigger than coffee,” Tabor said. 

Blue Sail has formed a new partnership with The Ocean Blue Project, which is one of the biggest nonprofits in the world. In the partnership, they have pledged that for every pound of coffee sold with Blue Sail, a pound of plastic will be removed from the ocean. The ultimate goal, Tabor explained, is to remove one million pounds of plastic from the ocean by 2026. 

When it comes to ordering at the café, Tabor said that he normally goes for a simple black coffee or pour over, but encourages guests to talk to the baristas and try something they haven’t before. Or he recommends coming in to chat, grabbing a bag of coffee, brewing it at home and going for a hike. 

Outside of sourcing coffee and growing the business, he said he “enjoys forming partnerships with cool nonprofits and getting to full send it on my passions.” He believes his work life and personal life are positively intertwined. Tabor recently went to Half Dome in Yosemite and he said he thinks it “is one the coolest things a person could ever do.” 

Blue Sail has a roastery in North Little Rock, and their coffee can be purchased not only at the cafe, but in Whole Foods, Target and Walmart. For the future, Tabor stated that “to put it simply, we just want to get better at inspiring people to adventure more and keep doing what we’re doing.”


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