Helping Business


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Bridge Street Coffee and Tea

Bridge Street Coffee & Tea Company is the answer to my desire of owning my own business. I used to "hang out" at the café when I was in high school and eventually got a part time job working there. When I discovered in 2007 the business was for sale I worked with the owners, who are providing the financing, to purchase it. Currently leasing my space, my long term goal is to purchase the building and offer more diversification to my current services and products. I serve a selection of top quality coffees and teas, breakfast sandwiches, giant muffins, huge cookies, decadent desserts and daily lunch specials of soups and sandwiches, but hope to eventually add a new & used book store and/or consignment shop.

I work long hours to keep the business open and running smoothly and since opening have added some extras to accommodate my customers. The layout of the restaurant is designed to accommodate small groups of people to meet in an intimate setting allowing privacy for short business meeting; Friday Mike Night sessions are offered for locals and usually draws a good crowd, and I participate in many of the downtown street and community activities by contributing to Relay for Life, LaBelle School fundraisers, and sponsoring Little League.

The economy is an issue in this type of business especially in small town Florida where unemployment remains the highest in the state, but I strive for good marketing practices and customer service to keep my customers happy and my doors open. I have a select clientele who have been loyal through the economic crisis. I feel honesty and a talent for knowing what my customers want and providing it to them are two strengths that have made me successful. I have the support of my Mother who often helps me on week-ends. Since opening I added a part-time worker which allows me to do some outside work for the business during the day. My experience has been "learn as you go" as I started the business right out of high school. I took some business management classes, but have put that on hold because of the time and energy I need to keep the business operating.

Shortly after I purchased Bridge Street Coffee & Tea in 2007, Janice Groves, Certified Business Consultant (SBDC) contacted me to discuss my recent purchase of the business and to offer assistance. At the time my business plan was less than basic and SBDC offered suggestions to improve it. I took suggestions and implemented them into my day to day business activity. Since 2007 SBDC has kept me informed of workshops and resources that may benefit my business. I have depended on SBDC to provide assistance, encouragement, and expertise as my business grows.

The SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.