Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Spring Currie, Owner of Coffee Trends & Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream, located in Kingston, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Coffee Trends & Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream is a unique shop. We have two distinct businesses in one location. Coffee Trends is primarily a K-Cup store featuring pods for those with a Keurig coffee brewer. Hundreds of pods can be purchased individually or in boxes. We sell Torani syrups, mugs, and all kinds of goodies for the home barista. The other side of the business is Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream. We offer over 55 flavours of soft-serve ice cream, Belgian chocolate dips, bubble tea, and much, much more! Our customers range from toddlers to senior citizens, coffee and ice cream are loved by many!
Tell us about yourself
Coffee Trends was born nearly 10 years ago out of need. At the time, there were no stores in the area selling coffee pods individually, so it made sense to make this available to coffee lovers. Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream came along when we needed to diversify the business. Coffee pods seemed to take a bit of a downward turn, so to keep the business alive, we added the ice cream as an option. We didn’t compromise on the quality of our ice cream products, and keeping with the spirit of flavour choices, we offered over 55 flavours. The ice cream shop became very popular very quickly, and we were able to save the coffee store for our loyal customers as well as make a lot of people very happy with so many ice cream options!
Working in an ice cream shop is extremely motivating. Customers are always cheery and excited to go for ice cream, so we feel that energy every day!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think our biggest accomplishment has been our amazing team of employees we’ve built over the years. We’ve kept some employees for many years, which is hard to do in this industry. We have our summer students returning every year during their university breaks. They all look forward to seeing each other for the summer and working in a fun environment (the free ice cream every day might be a factor also!) We’ve had several students start with us during their last few years of high school and continue with us during their time in post-secondary.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Your brain never shuts off. It’s not like working for someone else where you can check out completely. Your business is a reflection of you, and it is always under scrutiny, so you can’t help but look for ways to be better.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be ready to change or go home. Everything changes, and you need to be ready to do the same.
- Your employees are more important than your customers; everything starts with them. I can’t stress that strongly enough.
- Don’t be afraid. Shed the self-doubt and believe in yourself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Surround yourself with positive people, both professionally and personally. Treat your customers fairly and give them the kind of experience you would expect.
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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