To the youngest generation in the Boyd family, it was their great-great grandfather who founded the Boyd Coffee Company, Percival Dewe Boyd. P.D. Boyd, born in New Zealand in 1879, came to the United States with his family in 1882. Landing in the great Northwest, PD Boyd worked in grocery and sales until he decided to go off on his own and start his own business around 1900.
Located in downtown Portland, Boyd peddled his wares from a red, horse-drawn wagon he had purchased for $5 and thus, founding the "Boyd Importing Tea Company." By 1910, the horse-drawn wagons were replaced with trucks. With the spread of the automobile, the business took a new direction, and by 1920, home delivery was terminated. As his business grew, and Boyd gained in popularity, his reputation as a perfectionist followed. His greatest passion was for quality coffee. He also proved to be an ingenious businessman. Boyd was the first US coffee distributor to loan coffee brewing equipment to restaurants and the food service industry, a tradition that spread throughout the industry.
By 1939, PD Boyd had a branch office in Yakima, Washington and soon other distribution points were established. The "Boyd Blend" of coffee was in demand.
Rutherford Percival Boyd, fondly called R. P. or Rudy by his friends, succeeded his father in the Boyd Tea Company, now the Boyd Coffee Company. At age seven, R. P. helped his father sell coffees, teas and spices from a red delivery truck---the modernized version of his father's original horse-drawn red wagon. He worked through the ranks of his father's company as salesperson, sales manager and vice-president to become president of the company in 1958. During his tenure as president, he developed the company from a small coffee roasting business serving Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Idaho and Montana into a larger enterprise that included Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona. Find out more about R.P. here.
One of Boyd's employees was achieving a fair amount of celebrity. Veda Younger's job - after tasting various coffees from around the world - was to purchase the green (un roasted) beans. For some time, Mrs. Younger was the only woman in America to hold such a position. She retired from the company in 1978 , having served more than two decades.
In 1957, a customer survey in the Oregon Journal found Boyds among the top three brands in grocery sales. Even so, it was soon withdrawn. Rather than lowering the quality of its coffee—in order to compete, price-wise, with the national brands—the company chose to stay almost exclusively in the food service market segment.
The history of Boyds Coffee includes other innovations. Boyds was the first company to use paper filters in its restaurant coffee-makers; and the success of the restaurant machines led to the invention of the Flav-R-Flo® system for home use. This was a version of the cone-and-paper filter process, taken so much for granted by coffee-lovers today. In 1964, the Flav-R-Flo® Brewer became the first home-brewer to be approved by the Coffee Brewing Institute.
Today, BOYDS roasters are computerized. Both the original Red Wagon Store and the original Roastery are gone from downtown Portland. The company moved in 1972, to a 30-acre site just east of the city. A recently constructed addition to our distribution center has doubled the size of our current operations.
With 3 retail locations in the Portland area and an online ordering site, BOYDS is available to customers everywhere.
History, to a large extent, is written on newspaper; and it seems worth mentioning that Boyd Coffee Company has outlasted not only its rival roasters, but also numerous Portland newspapers. Perhaps this longevity says more than anything about the lasting popularity of the "Boyd blend."
Boyd Coffee Company has survived the test of time in its long and prestigious history. This speaks well of its Credo: corporate integrity; quality products; best customer service; respect for and pride in its fellow employees; and a contribution to a better community.