Eat, Shop, Bank Local: Destination Coffee shares insights as new Oakland business
At TS Bank we believe that a community is only as strong as its local businesses. This is why we have highlighted local businesses in Southwest, Iowa, as part of our Eat, Shop, Bank Local blog series. For this blog we have featured the husband and wife owners of Destination Coffee.
How and when did you get started?
My husband Eric and I started talking about opening a coffee shop in Oakland over a year ago. We settled on a location on the highway that would allow us to add a drive thru window. We started construction in March 2020 and officially opened on July 6th.
How have your life experiences brought you to where you are today?
My background is in banking and management while Eric's is in teaching. He taught all aspects of business at Griswold High School for 16 years. Eric opened a coffee shop at the Griswold School with his entrepreneur class two years ago and really enjoyed it. Eric and I also love to travel and always try to find coffee shops or restaurants that are not chains wherever we go. We have always enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of small coffee shops and wanted to create the same vibe for our community. Eric is focused on the day to day business of running the coffee shop while I am focused on the community outreach, marketing, bookkeeping and personnel. Our skill sets complement each other well.
What do you enjoy about owning your own business?
We enjoy building something bigger than ourselves. We want to build an economic engine that not only supports our family but provides local jobs, invests in our community and provides healthy food options for everyone. We like the flexibility of making changes on the fly and deciding on the future of our business together.
What do you find is your biggest challenge?
Determining how much inventory we need and planning for the week. Our payment system provides us detailed reporting on how many items we sell each day but there are times we see spikes in certain items and may run low or run out.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Our menu is unique in Oakland. We do not have a deep fryer and this is by design. We want to provide our community with healthier options made from fresh ingredients. We have plenty of goodies such as cinnamon rolls, scones, homemade donuts, etc. for those who may be craving something sweet. Our coffee is hands down the best in town. We buy our beans from a roaster in Omaha and offer both a light and dark roast along with our espresso drinks, frappes and smoothies. We are also focused on using as much biodegradable packaging as possible and avoid Styrofoam unless necessary. Last but not least we offer online ordering through our website. Our customers can order ahead and designate a time for pick up. This includes ordering the night before and running through our drive thru on their way to work to grab lunch.
What is your motivation? What drives you?
We obviously want our business to be a success financially to support our dreams and to help our employees' families, but a major motivation was that we needed to do something for our community versus just talking about what others should do. We want to invest in our area to help support our school, give the community something to be proud of and offer something different and fresh. The support and encouragement we have received from our community has driven us to expand our offerings more quickly than we originally intended to make sure we are fulfilling their needs.
What is your secret to success?
We have each other to bounce ideas off of and provide much needed support. We are open to new ideas from customers and have been incorporating these ideas into our menu. Eric and I are also active on Facebook and have been since day one of construction. We took pictures throughout and brought everyone on the ride with us. We also have some fabulous team members that enjoy visiting with our customers and going above and beyond whenever possible.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
We are still working on this since we have only been open for less than three months, but we are learning it takes a village to make this work. Help from our parents during construction, help from friends and their children, who are now some of our best employees, and now help from our ever-growing team. Each day we learn a little more and are figuring out how to strike a healthy balance.
What was your biggest life lesson?
If you do things for the right reasons, you can be successful. We didn't go into this venture with the intent to drive other restaurants out of business, make a ton of money, etc. We did it to fill a need in our town and to offer something we felt was missing in our area. We learn something new every day, and are willing to learn and change on the fly is a skill that has helped us immensely over the past couple of months.
What advice would you give other people who are interested in starting their own businesses?
A wonderful place to start is the Iowa Western Small Business Development Center. Utilize their resources to create a solid business plan and ask them for input into any assumptions you may be making to estimate sales.
Location, hours, services?
We are located at 301 Pullen Avenue in Oakland which is right on Highway 6/59. Currently our hours are 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays. We close our dining room at 2:00 and our drive through stays open until 4:00 during the week. We are also open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition to coffee and specialty coffee drinks, we serve breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches, pastries and smoothies and lunch including sandwiches and salads. We also offer catering for business meetings, small gatherings, etc. We are flexible and willing to work with our customers to see if what we offer can fit their needs.
How can someone get in contact with you?
During business hours, people can reach us by calling 712-435-2020. We have an active Facebook and check our messages frequently throughout the day. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and our website is destinationcoffeeandcuisine.com. Customers can place orders directly on our website, pay ahead and schedule pick up at our drive thru window.
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