Small businesses banking on a boost from Wells Fargo Championship

CHARLOTTE — Several years ago, Rock Hill startup Knowledge Perk Coffee Co. pleaded and cajoled its way into a trial run with sports concessionaire Levy, a division of Charlotte-based Compass Group North America.

Knowledge Perk co-founder Ryan Sanderson told CBJ the company had long wanted to break into professional sports because specialty coffee has been overlooked in stadiums and arenas. And at golf courses.

Levy handles concessions at Bank of America Stadium and the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club, among many other venues and events.

Sanderson said Levy offered Knowledge Perk a chance to serve coffee at Quail Hollow during the 2021 event. The opportunity brought a few challenges, too, including 3:15 a.m. arrivals for a week straight while working 16-hour days.

Anything else? “You’ve got 30,000 fans, you don’t have great access to power or water, which you need for coffee,” he said. “We told Levy, ‘Look, we want to be partners with the Carolina Panthers, with soccer, the PGA (Tour event). Give us a shot at the tournament, and if we can solve your coffee problem, then put us inside Bank of America Stadium.’”

The test went so well that Knowledge Perk was called upon to provide coffee service when the Wells Fargo Championship temporarily relocated to suburban Washington, D.C., last year. And the company has a permanent stand at BofA Stadium for events including NFL and Major League Soccer games.

Knowledge Perk is among nine companies that will be featured at this year’s Wells Fargo Championship as part of a Small Business Market aimed at bringing attention to companies who have received loans or grants from Wells Fargo & Co. The market will be near the driving range next to the main merchandise tent.

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