KCBS_740 MILL VALLEY (KCBS) — A Bay Area coffee company that has already received accolades from the LGBT community is being honored as one of the top 25 small businesses in the country.

Equator Coffee owners Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell started the company in a garage in Marin County in 1995. The company now has over 350 wholesale customers, including the French Laundry in Napa,

“When I heard that we had won, Brooke and I were extremely delighted, because we’ve been doing this for 21 years, so it’s great to be acknowledged,” Russell said.

Equator Coffee has ninety employees, three coffeehouse locations, and its own bean growing operation.

The company has recognized for its best practices policies in the areas of sustainable roasting methods, energy consumption, and minority hiring.

“Small business is the economic engine for creating jobs in this country,” Russell said.

Customers at the Mill Valley location think the recognition is well deserved.

“I think that’s great. I mean, Equator is a great store. We come here for good coffee. I’m here probably four days a week,” one customer told KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub.

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