This summer, GOBankingRates continues its annual Small Business Spotlight tradition by featuring small businesses nominated by our readers. We hope to shed light on inspiring local businesses, especially after the pandemic has left so many organizations struggling to get back on their feet.
In this small business feature, we profile Blue Mountain Coffee, an internationally renowned and award-winning coffee shop based in West Palm Beach, Florida. The company’s origins began in St. Andrew, Jamaica, where founder Allison Boettcher was born and raised. Inspired by the rich cocoa and Caribbean fruits of her town, she set out to harvest and roast Blue Mountain coffee beans on her family’s estate. Today, this Jamaican delicacy can be enjoyed in West Palm Beach, as the company exclusively serves Blue Mountain Coffee alongside its own Blue Mountain Coffee brand.
Small Business Spotlight 2022: Nominate your favorite small biz by July 25th
Options: 8 remote jobs paying at least $20 an hour
While sipping on a delicious cup of coffee, visitors to the Blue Mountain Coffee House can enjoy delicious foods such as pancakes, sandwiches, salads, pastries and specialty Jamaican dishes such as ackee and saltfish and curried chicken. With all that this small business has to offer, it’s no surprise that the location was named Emerging Business of the Year 2022 by the Black Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and recognized Boettcher as a finalist in the Diversity Organization categories of the Year” and “Small Business Owner of the Year 2022”. Here we chat with Boettcher about how she made Blue Mountain Coffee a success despite opening just before the COVID-19 outbreak, the national recognition she’s received, and the advice she has for aspiring small business owners .
What was it like being such a new company when COVID hit? What decisions or adjustments did you have to make in order to survive the pandemic?
This was one of the most challenging times of my life, but also one of the most rewarding. I was able to bring all my commercial skills and financial acumen to my business. I developed a closer relationship with God as prayer, faith, hard work and perseverance kept me going. One of the changes [I] made consisted of turning my concept into an online platform to make up for the lack of a physical customer base. This was very challenging as I didn’t even have the typical coffee shop experience.
POLL: Do you have a side gig or other hustle?
What lessons have you learned about running a business during an extremely difficult time you are living through to this day?
I keep working hard and meticulously. I’ve also learned to get by with less. There was a massive lack of product inventory and business needed to move on, so becoming more innovative was imperative.
Congresswoman Lois Frankel invited you to be her guest at this year’s State of the Union address at the Capitol. What was it like receiving this honor and what was the experience like?
I was honored by Congressman Lois Frankel and President Joe Biden by receiving the Congressional Record for my perseverance and achievements during COVID-19 as a small business. I didn’t fully understand the implications of this award until I pulled it up online and saw that all congressional records are kept in the Library of Congress.
This year I was the Virtual Guest of Honor for the State of the Union and will accompany Congresswoman Lois Frankel to the Capitol next year. Just being selected as your guest was a huge honor, but to then receive the Congressional Record that honors me as an individual is tremendous!
What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?
Never go into business just for the money or it will become an empty dream chasing a wad of papers. Instead, enjoy the journey of your choice as you work toward achieving your goals.
I am very old fashioned and believe that young entrepreneurs should first work in this field or gain the necessary experience before starting their own business. Learning, having discipleship, and having structure are the essence of one’s success.
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Gabrielle Olya contributed coverage for this article.