Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Crystal Bakker, Co-Owner of Bridgeman's Ice Cream, located in Woodbury, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am one of the co-owners of Bridgeman's Ice Cream. We manufacture premium ice cream and distribute it throughout Minnesota & Western Wisconsin. We also own an old-fashioned ice cream parlor located in Woodbury, MN.
Tell us about yourself
After graduating from Woodbury High School, I attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth to earn a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. I taught for a few years in Minneapolis before leaving to work for our family business. When the opportunity presented to buy Bridgeman's with my family, we couldn't say no. Saying "yes" and taking a risk on this opportunity turned out to be a pivotal point in my life. We have never looked back.
Bridgeman's Ice Cream was founded in Duluth, MN, in 1936 and is known for making premium ice cream. Over the decades, it became an iconic Minnesota brand. After purchasing the company in 2015, we worked hard to refresh the brand and start building the wholesale business. We wanted to make our product more accessible to our fans.
We had a 5-year goal to open our ice cream parlor in hopes that it would launch an opportunity to partner with other local entrepreneurs. We believe every Bridgeman's location should be owned and operated by someone passionate and involved in their community. Our dream is to see Bridgeman grow and use this fantastic opportunity to give back in a way we would otherwise be unable to achieve.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is the opportunities we have created to give back. We partner with our local schools to help raise money for their PTA and work with a local non-profit called Common Hope. We do multiple events annually to help raise money to support families through education in Guatemala. I love that I could transfer my passion for teaching into our business model.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things we face as business owner is the pressure to succeed. Every decision made creates a domino effect that significantly contributes to your success. There is no safety net to fall back on, so taking the time to analyze when to be conservative and when to take a risk can be daunting!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It's ok to be scared! Suppose you don't have a healthy level of fear. In that case, you may not have considered how much truly goes into running a successful business.
- Put time and energy into the people working with you. If you show you appreciate them, then they will understand you.
- Get creative! Don't pigeonhole yourself into a specific plan. Find multiple avenues to revenue and pursue every angle of your business. Then, see what succeeds and follow that path.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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