Most of us have that special place that we go to unwind and catch up with our busy lives. A place that is your ‘happy’ so to speak. Today, I’m going to share with you one of my special places. This place comes in the form of a cozy coffee shop (no surprise there, Meg) in downtown Nappanee, IN. I’ve always said that my coffee addiction started here, at Main Street Coffee House. Through the years, this coffee shop has been the place where friendships were formed, a first date took place (with a very special man named Logan 😉), mother-daughter dates, catching up on life with my wonderful cousins, and lots of bible studies.
This past Monday I had the privilege of meeting with Debra and Marcus Miller, the owners. And let me tell ya, what wonderful souls! As we sipped on freshly brewed coffee, Debra and I chatted about her life as a business owner and the trials and joys of owning a business. I pulled out my little note book and asked away with my questions.
For starters, I asked for a little ‘history lesson’ of the coffee shop (Marcus was in the back roasting beans during this time). Debra and Marcus opened the coffee shop in 2003 simply because they wanted a place where people could come and hang out with friends and family, and unwind. They desired a place that would bring their community together, and I think they have achieved that and much more. Debra explained that when they were dating they always had to go to the Electric Brew in Goshen or other surrounding, yet pretty far away, coffee shops so they decided to create their own little spot. I’m so glad they did!
How do you juggle work and family life?
The couple spontaneously jumped into the project of owning their own business as young newlyweds. Debra was pregnant at the time with her first child and she said that they were just ‘stupid enough’ to keep going. I loved her honesty throughout this interview lol! The coffee shop allows her to choose her hours, yet be available whenever she is needed. This allows her to be at home with her children but often times the kids are there, helping their mom and dad. One of her cute little blondies was in the back that day, helping her dad roast coffee beans. She shared that her and Marcus work well together and have always enjoyed owning a business together. Marcus deals with the coffee part of the coffee shop and is experienced in espresso machines and pulling shots. Debra focuses more on inventory and purchasing. A perfect team!
Right now they are working on expanding the roasting part of their coffee shop. They want to start focusing more on selling bulk coffee. They do sell bulk coffee from their shop or online at https://mainstreetroasters.com/shop/. They have a little roasting space in the back but with more and more customers they need a bigger space. When you are ordering your coffee you can peep into the roasting room and I love that they give their customers that perspective. And when they do roast beans, it smells soooo good in there! They have also talked about doing cuppings, or coffee tastings, in their new and improved future roasting shop. Imagine a wine tasting but with coffee, sign me up!
Another future goal of the couple is to have their kids more involved as they grow older. They wish to be able to keep the coffee shop within the family.
I asked Debra about her employees because every time I go in there I am always treated with such kindness and everyone is always happy. There is a lot to be said of a business if they have awesome employees like that. She explained that Marcus, who handles employee hirings, relations, etc., is a very-easy going and approachable boss. They trust their employees and they treat them like adults. They try hard to create a stress-free environment, which creates confidence in employees and a good work ethic. They also try to pay their employees fair wages. Marcus and Debra have hearts of gold who love their employees and treat them like family. Working at a coffee shop myself, I know that your coworkers do become like family and it can be sad when a coworker quits and moves on.
What mistakes have you made & how did you solve them?
They used to have several different locations that ended up not being financially successful. They tried to be too much and ended up stretching themselves too thin. Even though those failed, it caused them to take a step back and focus even more on their first location. Debra said that even if you might lose some money in the beginning and things get frustrating, if it feels right and you have the passion for it then you need to follow that dream. The money will come. “If I know that I am making a difference in my community then that is good enough for me”
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Debra shared with me that in the coffee world there is a LOT of comparisons. “A certain coffee shop might be doing something totally different than what we are doing and sometimes I’ve thought that we should do the same thing. Customers want us to offer a certain product, and yes, we’re all about making the customer happy but at some point you need to just do what’s best for your business. It’s good to compare and be innovative but there’s also that place where you have to come to where you are okay to just do your own thing.” So in short, BE YOURSELF.
It was so fun getting to know this wonderful couple and getting a behind-the-scenes look into my favorite coffee shop. I learned a lot from these two and I hope this interview and their story can inspire you to always work hard and to always be yourself. So grab a good friend and go check out this amazing coffee shop, and relax with a hot raspberry chai latte (my favorite)! ☕️❤️💁🏼