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CanvasRebel is an online pursuit of storytelling to share the different perspectives from creatives and entrepreneurs about their everyday, relatable successes. In January 2024 they shared an interview with Tony, and we are excited to bring that to you (in small bites!) to share some insight into the drive and vision for Enderly Coffee. 

Please enjoy!


Tony , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear a story from back when you were an intern or apprentice. What’s a memorable story you can share with us?

I was a broke teacher with a wife, 2 kids, almost no money in the bank, and a hobby. I’d never started a business, never ran a business, & did not believe I could make this work. It was a scary place to be.

Tony Santoro at Enderly Coffee Cafe on Tuckaseegee Rd. (Photo Credit: Julia Faye

I hit a season where I did not know what I was going to do, but I knew teaching was not cutting it. I began throwing resumes around to anyone paying $50k. A good friend of mine was growing his own business, a consulting company. I had huge respect for his journey from corporate to doing his own thing. One night he asked me, “What do you really want to be doing?” I insisted I’d love to grow my coffee roasting business.

That friend offered me a role at his company & encouragement, all with the understanding that the job’s purpose was to create a runway for me to launch into coffee roasting. So that is what I did. I quit teaching to work finance & operations for a consulting company 32 hours a week. I went from teaching 7th graders to working in an industry and company I had no business working in, all in about 30 days.

Unroasted Coffee Beans at Enderly Coffee Warehouse (Photo Credit: Jonathan Cooper

Local coffee poured into Diner Mug (Photo Credit: Jonathan Cooper )

It was in this role that I entered naive and terrified. I had never worked outside of a school or restaurant. I did not know what I was doing (honestly, I still don’t). For 13 months I reported to the office 32 hours a week, then with any and every free time I had I was working on growing my company. It was in this role at this company that I learned basic finance practices, basic HR practices, financial forecasting, even some sales strategy.

I believe that I became an asset over time to them, though I definitely had my initial doubts. But this time with the company was the best education I had to help prepare me for entrepreneurship. No classrooms, no cohorts. I was in it, I was doing it. I was around it every day. I left the company after 13 months with the framework of the company I wanted to build and put it into action.

This time, and this friend, gave me the confidence that propelled me to where we are today. That was 2014-2015. It is now 2023. I believe that time learning “on the job” is the best training one can look for.

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