Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rachel Correia, owner of The Neighbors Coffee & Co. LLC, located in Taunton, MA, USA.

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

The Neighbors Coffee & Co. is a specialty coffee roasting business built around the idea of being a good neighbor. We pride ourselves on locally roasting fresh and quality coffee that has been sourced ethically and empowers our global neighbors. And we want to leverage our business to empower our actual, local neighbors - 10% of all of our profits go back into the needs of our city. Our customers are our real-life neighbors and people who simply want to drink better coffee.

Tell us about yourself

Before starting The Neighbors, my background has primarily been working for non-profits and throughout the food-service industry. I've always loved serving people and the human-connection part of every job. While working for a non-profit in Turkey, I got to see how a lot of people used business as a means of community engagement and empowerment. There were several humanitarian aid organizations that utilized business as a means to benefit and empower the communities that they were serving. When I moved back to the States, I came home with the vision of wanting to do something similar - to leverage business as a means of caring for the community economically, socially, and relationally. I love the hospitality that the coffee industry is able to offer. There's a far true sense of "come and be" hospitality that can be offered in these spaces.

I already had years of background in coffee, so in large part, it made sense to pursue that avenue, not to mention, our particular area of the state has very little in terms of specialty coffee. But for me personally, the coffee (while important) has always been a means to an end - to be good neighbors, to do business redemptively in a way aides human flourishing, and to foster community. As of right now, we do not yet have a cafe space that we can invite people into - that is the long-term goal we hope to be moving toward in the next year.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

It's hard to name a "biggest accomplishment" when everything feels like it's still in process. However, we've made it through COVID so far as a new business and have continued growing our most since the Fall of 2020. That in and of itself feels like an accomplishment because there were moments in 2020 and 2021 when it seemed like the wise choice would be to call off the whole thing. I'm so glad we're still here.

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

Knowing when to take the plunge and make the big decisions. You will never be or feel "ready" for most things, especially when it's a first-time experience. Also, personally, making decisions about going part-time at my day job and/or moving on altogether have been scary. The concerns of rent, health insurance, learning to paying myself - these have been the harder decisions to make so far.

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

  1. Find people around you that are strong in areas you are not. For me, seeking financial advice and oversight from trusted professionals has been huge.
  2. Talk with people who are doing what you want to be doing and learn from them. Learn from their mistakes and their "If I were to start over..." stories.
  3. Don't over-compare every step of your start-up journey to that of others. There are a lot of coffee roasters out there who have given me incredibly helpful and insightful pointers. But I found myself comparing every metric of my journey to where they were at - often them being more established, with more financial resources, and not the financially-liable owners of their companies. It was helpful for me to step back and recognize what to glean from and what to differentiate.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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