Roasting Coffee and Employing Ex-Cons: The Story of Second Chance Coffee Co.

Entrepreneurial Roundtable

November 19, 2012: 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM

"I Have a Bean" is the premium brand of coffee made and sold by Second Chance Coffee Co. Come to sample this extraordinary coffee and hear Pete Leonard, President and Co-Founder, talk about how he and his team have turned an idea to help ex-cons into a successful business enterprise. Please note the updated event location.


City Gate Grill - Calamos Investments Building
2020 Calamos Court
Naperville, Illinois

Driving Directions:

DIRECTIONS: Take I-88 to Route 59, go North on Route 59 and turn right at first street (Westings Drive). From Westings, take an immediate right onto Calamos Court. Parking is on right. Go to City Gate Grill.
Meeting room is a down steps below City Gate Grill.

Event Details

The idea for the business came out of a breakfast meeting of Pete and two of his friends in 2007. After much discussion, brainstorming and prayer, they began to believe that they could create a coffee roasting business that would accomplish two things – produce truly exceptional coffee and help transform the lives of former offenders.

Now, Second Chance scours the world for the finest coffee beans, purchasing beans from Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Peru, Uganda and several other countries. The coffee is roasted at the company's facility at Wheaton and delivered to nearby customers the same day.

Many of the workers in Second Chance are ex-convicts who are looking for a new life. In our country, this is especially difficult because few employers will hire ex-cons. And, few ex-cons have any real skills. Those are reasons that more than 60% of the 20,000 prisoners released from Illinois correction facilities each year are re-incarcerated within three years.

At Second Chance, ex-cons find not only a job but also help in addressing other issues that most of them have: drug abuse or psychological problems, limited education and lack of a mentor and support network.

NOTE:  City Gate Grill offers discounts on food and drinks before and after Roundtable programs:  Save $10 on $30 food bill or $3 on special martinis. 


$25.00 for general public; $20.00 for Chicago Booth alumni, students & faculty.

$5.00 discount if register by November 14th.


Register Online

Register by November 14th and save $5.00

Deadline: 11/19/2012


6:30 PM-7:15 PM: Networking & Light Refreshments

7:15 PM-8:45 PM: Program with Speaker


Bill Wentz, '88 
Roundtable Chair