By Eric Dehm
Salvatore DeFranco had a plan for when he left the Navy. As a member of the elite SEAL community, planning and execution was a big part of life, so it came naturally. He would get out and go to school like vets are supposed to do.
Turned out, school wasn’t for him.
After a while in class, and changing his major “about twenty times” DeFranco realized something was missing. He missed the military camaraderie and lifestyle and he went into security contracting for a few years.
Turned out, security contracting wasn’t for him either.
After a few years working in that industry, the void was still there. DeFranco pivoted again, making a decision to see if the world of entrepreneurship was what he needed. He was taking yet another pivot in his post-military career that was only a few years old. To many, that would be a bad sign. DeFranco looks at things differently, in a way that he believes comes naturally to veterans.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” DeFranco said during an appearance on The Morning Briefing. “I think that’s something that’s instilled in a lot of veterans. If something doesn’t go your way that doesn’t mean that you give up it means that you make adjustments and you continue the mission.”
Not giving up has led to great things for DeFranco, as he and his wife Dana would found Battle Grounds Coffee in his home-state of Massachusetts. The company offers a variety of coffees with military themed names like “Dark Ops” and the simple (and sure to be popular with Navy Chiefs) “Khaki.”
While Battle Grounds is in the business of slinging beans down range, that’s not all they do. DeFranco always had a vision of more than just a mail-order company, he wanted a “brick & mortar” location for people to congregate. So they opened their cafe in Haverhill, MA. Since opening, the battle Grounds Coffee Co. cafe has become a hub of the community in Haverhill, specifically for veterans.
“We’ve become such a resource to the veteran community,” DeFranco said. “We have the Massachusetts Director of Veterans Affairs is a regular, local and state politicians frequent our cafe. The VFW, DAV, AMVETS they’re always in our cafe and that allows us to interact with these people face to face and really get things done.”
More so, the DeFrancos are currently planning on expanding their footprint and influence in the worlds of coffee and veterans issues, as preparations are underway to open three more locations within the state soon.
The full interview with Salvatore DeFranco is available below.
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