Martin Mayorga ’97, cofounder of Mayorga Coffee Roasters in Rockville, Maryland, knows that having the confidence to pursue postsecondary education is not natural for everyone.
Having lived in Montgomery County since age 10 (his parents fled Nicaragua with four children in the 1970s), he spent his first year out of high school at Montgomery College.
“In high school, I had great SAT scores,” Mayorga says, “but terrible grades … Montgomery College helped me gain confidence in my abilities and realize that I could do well in school. After a year, I transferred to Georgetown.”
"Montgomery College helped me gain confidence in my abilities and realize that I could do well in school. After a year, I transferred to Georgetown.”
Mayorga now runs an 80-employee business that roasts coffee beans as well as provides a wholesale operation and a chain of retail cafes throughout the Washington metropolitan area.
He got into the business during his college years. While visiting his native Nicaragua as a young man, Mayorga made an impulsive offer to help his uncle sell coffee beans in the United States. It made sense to the 20-year-old business student after hearing how unpredictable business was each year. Mayorga’s plan was simple: His uncle would ship a container of coffee stateside. He would find buyers, and they would split the profits. The venture was a success, and in 1999, he formally established Mayorga Coffee Roasters.
While his coffee roasting plant is based in Rockville, his signature gold bags with the red crown have gained nationwide recognition. Mayorga retail locations are found at Dulles, Reagan, Pittsburgh, and BWI airports; at National Harbor and Westfield Wheaton mall; and on the shelves of local supermarkets.
Mayorga also has established the Latino Leadership Scholarship at Montgomery College with a major gift to the Montgomery College Foundation. The scholarship will support need-based scholarships for Latino students who are business majors at Montgomery College. The gift will cover annual tuition for one student per year for at least five years. More than 3,400 Latino students currently attend Montgomery College.
“I know firsthand the struggles associated with paying for a quality education,” Mayorga says. “My wife and I started this company 16 years ago to support all members of our supply chain, and our community is a critical member of that supply chain. I’m very proud to be able to be a part of developing future business leaders in our local community.”
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