Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sandi Luck, Founder, and CEO of Bully Brew Coffee, located in Grand Forks, ND, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I currently own a group of coffeehouses (Bully Brew Coffee), a roastery (ND Coffee Roastery), an Airbnb (Nora's Place), and co-own a coffee/taphouse (The Other Half Coffee & Taphouse). Being in the Midwest, we cater to those who support local and love coffee, dogs (actually any furry friend), craft beer, and friendly customer service! Our customers are locals who are proud of their North Dakota/Minnesota products.
Tell us about yourself
I have a passion for business and teaching. I am in my last semester of teaching Marketing classes at the University of North Dakota and will retire after 18 years of being an employee and instructor. My experience at UND has helped me develop my understanding of customers and business and increased my motivation to grow my business.
Bully Brew Coffee started in 2010 in a small local nursing home in Grand Forks, ND. Bully Brew Coffee is named after my bulldogs. Elvis is the mascot and is welcoming, friendly, and silly. That describes who we are. My passion grew throughout the years as I slowly acquired several other coffee houses, including one that was roasting our beans. I attended roasting classes, studied the roasting process, and decided to grow the coffee roastery business alongside the coffee houses. I currently have a Master Roaster who develops recipes and profiles for several of our wholesale customers. It is an art.
After 13 years of many hours and a lot of grit, I have developed a coffee world with a team of other women who are passionate and motivated to be better than we were yesterday. I have a leadership team who manages our operations, marketing, and sales, along with managers at each location. We focus on growth and developing personally to continue to grow. My companies are 100% woman-owned and women-operated!
Our next phase is to use our new 27,000 square feet Roastery Warehouse and Admin Offices to develop the ND Coffee School. This coffee school will focus on educating and developing those in the US who want to learn how to successfully run a coffee house. We will have classes for Baristas, Managers, and Owners. We will teach barista skills, management skills, financial success, how to hire, fire, train, and how to have fun with your company and people! Our goal is to share our secrets along with our experiences.
What motivates me every day to do what I do? My team! They are crazy amazing! I am so blessed to have such dedicated women who dream as I do! Dream Big!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I celebrate each day! I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way at the right time. My greatest accomplishment is "all of it!" I still get chills when I see someone in the community that I don't know with a Bully Brew Coffee cup in their hand! I think, "Wow! They chose us over others! That is so incredible!" I even get amazed when I drive by my own coffee houses and see the cars in the drive-thru and in front - it is the most amazing feeling that so many support us!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I love what I do, and I have a passion for the coffee world. There are times that are challenging, such as finances or finding the right people, but I have mentors that I can call and ask questions and learn from them. My challenges make me more competitive - I want to succeed not only for myself but for my team.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a mentor who has done what you WANT to do. They have experiences that can help you grow.
- Be okay with failure. Failure is the best way to learn something. Don't let others discourage you when you do fail - just understand why it happened and learn from it ....get back up! Stay strong.
- Dream Big! Write your dreams on big paper. Create your dream organizational chart. Add in your goals and strategies for how you will get there. Dream Big!
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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