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Grand Forks, ND
Grand Forks, ND
Sarah Sand
The Coffee Company

I worked at The Coffee Company when I was in college, at the University of North Dakota here in Grand Forks. It was just a side job for me, and after graduating I went on to work in nutrition, my major.

But in 2007, just as I was about to get married, we heard the owner was looking to sell or close the business. My husband Shane, a farmer, has a great instinct for business. He thought we should buy the business and I could run it. I wasn't happy in my job and was definitely looking for a change, but I never once imagined myself as a business owner. We talked about it, pondered it, and within a week and half, we had it!

I had so much to learn, but the local contacts with the Small Business Administration were wonderful. I developed a business plan and learned what to expect. It's so amazing having this lifestyle. Grand Forks is a neat little town. Taxes are low, it's not too large, but with a great university. I actually have a waiting list for employees!

This was the first coffee shop in North Dakota and it's still the only coffee roaster in town, so we have a great reputation and great word-of-mouth marketing. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that despite a great visitor's center, we don't have oceans or anything really major to entice people to come from far away. A more regular stream of tourists would be nice. Come visit! -Kathleen Ryan O'Connor

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