Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Josh Molina, CEO of Makers & Finders, located in Las Vegas, NV, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Restaurant, coffee bar, community anchor. Makers & Finders is an eclectic, modern representation of a café. It is a full-service, bustling coffee shop featuring an incredible lineup of Latin America's finest cuisine served for Brunch, Happy Hour, and Dinner. With 4 locations in Las Vegas, our customer base has grown tremendously. We provide an elevated yet casual table service or a quick pick-me-up from our To-Go window. Our space is curated for almost any occasion - working on a laptop, brainstorming within a lively atmosphere, closing a business deal, enjoying breakfast with loved ones, or experiencing a first date. Our easy-to-navigate menu is easily repeatable, but the unique menu items, such as our Empanada Flight and Bandeja Paisa, keep you coming back for more. Our space is bright, airy, and filled with positive affirmations that remind you to keep on fighting your fight! It's Good To Be Here, and we are purveyors of that philosophy!
Tell us about yourself
Makers & Finders is the outcome of one family's American dream. The dream began on July 27, 1984, when Omar and Martha Molina became husband and wife & immigrated from Colombia (South America) in pursuit of a better life. They arrived in NYC, where they had three children: Stephen, Josh & Omar Jr. Through grit and perseverance, they navigated their new life and moved to Las Vegas in 1998 to kick off the second wave of their American dream.
I graduated from the College of Liberal Arts at UNLV in 2010. Shortly after, I became inspired by my parents' determination and sought to create a food/beverage concept featuring dishes I had loved for a lifetime & my biggest passion: Coffee. The aim was to create an approachable menu that was easy-to-navigate and featured some of Latin America's most popular dishes (namely: Arepas & Empanadas).
During a late-night creative binge, I visualized traveling through the Van Wyck Expressway after picking up my father from a graveyard shift where I was a doorman for 15 years. After further exploring the name Van Wyck led to the discovery of a series of mid-century articles named "Makers and Finders." The articles spoke to his entrepreneurial spirit and kickstarted the road to M&F. Through hands-on grassroots efforts and family support, we opened Makers & Finders on December 5, 2014, in the Arts District of Las Vegas. The constant pursuit of a better life for my family and the fulfillment of our American dream is the fuel for our M&F engine.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments was being recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 entrepreneurs by Vegas, Inc. This was shortly after our first retail expansion and after the birth of my son, Hudson. It was an emotional culmination of hard work and perseverance. The losses feel large and victories small as an entrepreneur. It was a wonderful feeling putting all of it aside for one night to celebrate with family and friends.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a son, brother, and father, I am so much more than just an entrepreneur. It is much easier said than done, though! I've experienced internal conflict in understanding how to balance these two parts of my whole. This is a lonely game, and making decisions can be extremely impactful to self and others. A constant and healthy self-dialogue has become instrumental in making powerful decisions and developing a strong trust with my gut. It has helped me increase my time management and organization skills to allow me more time to spend with my son and family. This did not come easy, but the skill is a worthy endeavor.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ear to the ground - be a part of your community. Even if you are on the outside looking into being with, collecting valuable information about your community's happenings is of summate importance. Collect data about developments, financial opportunities, and community movers & shakers, and this will help you better find your angle when it's your time to enter the sphere.
- Fiscal Common Sense - rely on yourself, not someone else's money. In the literal sense, one of the hardest parts about jump-starting your project is money. Nowadays, I hear a lot about looking for investors and/or debt to finance new businesses. Although this can be a good thing, understanding how to save money, maintain a healthy budget, and gain knowledge on how to build a dynamic and deep credit score is so important. Test yourself - can you save $10,000? $20,000? If you are able to reach personal financial goals, the chances of fruitfully managing someone else's investment are greater.
- Self-Awareness - know thyself. Relying on your strengths on the front end can help you gain the initial traction you need. However, this is a marathon! Over time, your focus should shift to a longstanding battle against your weaknesses. The deeper you get into business, the more staff you employ, and the more your name is heard tends to have a correlation with exposing your weaknesses. This is normal, and campaigning against them is important. However, do not get lost in the battle. You are not perfect, and making mistakes is important. The biggest takeaway is having a strong line of communication with yourself. Some people will say things to drag you down; others will actually mean it in good spirit. It is up to you to decipher it. This takes practice, so start now.
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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