From the Editor: March/April 2010
By Cam Wood
In your life, you meet many people of all walks, backgrounds and
dispositions. When I met Stuart Daw, some years ago as I struggled to
learn the coffee industry in a heartbeat, one word came to mind
In your life, you meet many people of all walks, backgrounds and dispositions. When I met Stuart Daw, some years ago as I struggled to learn the coffee industry in a heartbeat, one word came to mind immediately: gentleman.
It was at the former OCVSA conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For anyone who attended, you’ll remember that, following the morning sessions, the attendees – en masse – would head to the banquet room for lunch. While I’m certain Stuart could have sat with any of his peers, he chose to sit with me, perhaps knowing that I could use a bit of education in the coffee business. Either that, or the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face told him that this editor needed some guidance.
For the next hour, he proceeded to explain how the industry operated, how operators operated, how coffee prices were set and determined, and the impact as such. Of course, this was all done in the typical Stuart Daw fashion, rife with anecdotes and personal stories from his days on the road. Like many others who crossed paths with him, I left that lunch with a much broader sense of the industry and insight.
Other times, he would pull me aside to introduce me to someone else in the coffee industry – partner and competitor alike. Stuart helped me learn to appreciate coffee – not love coffee; that was something I already did – but truly understand the qualities and roasting characteristics of what makes a good cup.
You see, he was like that: a man quick to elevate others by sharing some of himself. Stuart was a class act; a man from a generation when a handshake was more defining than a bunch of legal speak on long paper.
As editor of this magazine, I had a different relationship with him than many of you. As you can read in its pages, there are a number of accounts from leaders in the industry, friends and associates. All echo the same underlying qualities that made us love him, respect him and seek guidance from him. At Canadian Vending, we got to spend time sharing the storytelling and the craft of writing, and – even when it may not have been strictly about OCS – the metaphors within the thoughts could translate if you sought them out.
I know many of you already recognize that the coffee industry in North America will be a bit smaller without Stu. For those of us who bring the written word forward, storytelling will have a bigger void.
Rest in peace, Stuart. Thank you for your words.