Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lana Hickey, Owner of Crave Coffee Bar and Bistro, located in Arlington, TN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is a craving coffee bar and bistro, and I also own a bakery located right next door that is called Crave sweets bake shop. My clientele consists of coffee drinkers, those who love homemade pastries and baked goods, as well as those dropping in for quality breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Tell us about yourself

I went to culinary school in Atlanta, where I received my degree. My husband and I met there, and he has always been in the restaurant business. I was in the restaurant business for a short time but then became a stay-at-home mom. Once I moved to Arlington, Tennessee, I noticed there was a definite need for a local coffee shop. All of my children were in preschool or school-aged, so I thought, why not take the jump? My family is definitely my motivation. I work as hard as I do for them. The community is also a huge motivator, as I very much love serving my community and meeting new guests every day. Cooking, baking, and food, in general, have always been a true interest of mine, and now I get to do it daily!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think my biggest accomplishment is establishing my brand. People know the quality of my product, and they know what my name and my logo represent. We are currently working on an expansion, and I think reaching my goal of having one or more stores is definitely my biggest accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that I struggle with is learning not to be a workaholic. Trying to turn work off when I'm at home and trying to spend quality time with my family is definitely something I need to work on. One of the toughest things is learning not to take things personally. That can be a negative review or as simple as someone else using your competitor over you. Once you get involved with the community, you gain a connection and sort of a friendship with them, and oftentimes that's difficult when either of the above happens.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The biggest thing I can say is definitely treat your employees the same way that you would want to be treated. Value them because they are truly what makes up your business. They are the face of your business and the ones who meet with your clientele. The second thing will definitely be to work for a short period of time in the industry if you're looking to open a business. Sometimes things appear to be different from the outside, but once you get in there and start working, there are lots of obstacles to overcome. Lastly, if you are a business owner, know when to shut it off. Allowing yourself one or two days a week to just be you and not associated with your business is incredibly important for your mental health.

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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