Coffee and Vitamins: The Next Best Thing?

Two Detroit entrepreneurs hope to add VitaPerk to consumers’ morning coffee routine.
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DETROIT — Nearly 10 years ago, while waiting for their morning coffee to finish brewing at Quicken Loan’s company vending machine in Detroit, Brad Kifferstein and Jeb Belchinsky’s entrepreneual spirits immediately hit it off. The pair fell into a morning coffee routine of sharing life and always on the hunt for new ways to improve it.

One day, as Kifferstein added cream and sugar to his coffee, ran a question by Belchinsky, who was searching the bottom of his mug for a perk, that changed both their morning routines and careers. “We have smart phones and smart cars, so why not smart coffee?”

The question lead the duo to an extensive amount of research, which created an idea, that lead to meetings with a vitamin consultant, who pointed them in the direction of a manufacturer and biochemist. After two years of formulating, brand development, patent and trademark work, testing, caffeine consumption, and nervous jitters, Kifferstein and Belchinsky had created a product and a resolution to their question. The answer: VitaPerk — a packet of powdered vitamins and minerals coffee lovers can add to their morning routines.

And with 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed every day and an estimated many people lacking enough vitamins and minerals in their diets, Kifferstein, 34, of Birmingham and Belchinsky, 42, of Huntington Woods, believe they do have the next best thing.

“VitaPerk is made for health conscious individuals who are always on the go, and for the 40 percent of Americans who don’t like to swallow pills, such as multivitamins,” Kifferstein says. “Our goal is to provide a health perk, both for the coffee and the individual’s lifestyle. We’ll provide the perk and perhaps they’ll make a life altering decision to integrate healthy decisions into their daily routine.”

The two have since left Quicken Loans and have begun a soft launch of their product at select convenient stores as well Coffee Beanery, Java Hut, Bean and Leaf. Selling the individual on-the-go packets for 95 cents, Vita Perk is starting to take off. In the coming months, the product will be packaged in a 7-pack box and sold for $6.95 in the coffee aisles of grocery stores.

“Our ideal place to be located is on the hang out racks in the coffee aisle,” Kifferstein said. “Our product is a lifestyle enhancer but not a supplement. We’re hoping by being in the coffee aisle we will be easily accessible to our target market, 25- to 55-year-old health conscious coffee drinkers.”

The individual packets are intended for use in 12-20 ounce of fresh coffee. The directions are to simply stir in a package as part of your daily coffee routine, whether it be black, a spoonful of sugar, a splash of milk, or both sugar and milk. The flavored products come in hazelnut, vanilla, mocha, and there is also an unflavored option.

“I have customers of all ages purchasing VitaPerk and some of my regulars use the flavored packets as sweetener in opposition to the tablespoons of sugar they used to use,” said Russ Anderson, owner of Bean and Leaf in Royal Oak.

The future of VitaPerk is bright. The product is undergoing its second launch, including the shelves of grocery stores, the cashier stand of coffee shops, and the introduction of a “Perk @ Work” campaign in office spaces and a “Get Perky” launch during welcome week on college campuses.

DETROIT — Nearly 10 years ago, while waiting for their morning coffee to finish brewing at Quicken Loan’s company vending machine in Detroit, Brad Kifferstein and Jeb Belchinsky’s entrepreneual spirits immediately hit it off. The pair fell into a morning coffee routine of sharing life and always on the hunt for new ways to improve it.

One day, as Kifferstein added cream and sugar to his coffee, ran a question by Belchinsky, who was searching the bottom of his mug for a perk, that changed both their morning routines and careers. “We have smart phones and smart cars, so why not smart coffee?”

The question lead the duo to an extensive amount of research, which created an idea, that lead to meetings with a vitamin consultant, who pointed them in the direction of a manufacturer and biochemist. After two years of formulating, brand development, patent and trademark work, testing, caffeine consumption, and nervous jitters, Kifferstein and Belchinsky had created a product and a resolution to their question. The answer: VitaPerk — a packet of powdered vitamins and minerals coffee lovers can add to their morning routines.

And with 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed every day and an estimated many people lacking enough vitamins and minerals in their diets, Kifferstein, 34, of Birmingham and Belchinsky, 42, of Huntington Woods, believe they do have the next best thing.

“VitaPerk is made for health conscious individuals who are always on the go, and for the 40 percent of Americans who don’t like to swallow pills, such as multivitamins,” Kifferstein says. “Our goal is to provide a health perk, both for the coffee and the individual’s lifestyle. We’ll provide the perk and perhaps they’ll make a life altering decision to integrate healthy decisions into their daily routine.”

The two have since left Quicken Loans and have begun a soft launch of their product at select convenient stores as well Coffee Beanery, Java Hut, Bean and Leaf. Selling the individual on-the-go packets for 95 cents, Vita Perk is starting to take off. In the coming months, the product will be packaged in a 7-pack box and sold for $6.95 in the coffee aisles of grocery stores.

“Our ideal place to be located is on the hang out racks in the coffee aisle,” Kifferstein said. “Our product is a lifestyle enhancer but not a supplement. We’re hoping by being in the coffee aisle we will be easily accessible to our target market, 25- to 55-year-old health conscious coffee drinkers.”

The individual packets are intended for use in 12-20 ounce of fresh coffee. The directions are to simply stir in a package as part of your daily coffee routine, whether it be black, a spoonful of sugar, a splash of milk, or both sugar and milk. The flavored products come in hazelnut, vanilla, mocha, and there is also an unflavored option.

“I have customers of all ages purchasing VitaPerk and some of my regulars use the flavored packets as sweetener in opposition to the tablespoons of sugar they used to use,” said Russ Anderson, owner of Bean and Leaf in Royal Oak.

The future of VitaPerk is bright. The product is undergoing its second launch, including the shelves of grocery stores, the cashier stand of coffee shops, and the introduction of a “Perk @ Work” campaign in office spaces and a “Get Perky” launch during welcome week on college campuses.

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