‘Deja Brew’ Dream Becomes Reality
A dream has become reality for Liz and Colin Hoppe. Already the couple is making plans to open Deja Brew coffee shop, downtown Emmetsburg.
Liz and Colin Hoppe were named winners of the Dream to Reality Contest and took home a $10,000 prize package. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 6, at Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce who sponsored the contest.
“We had a real surprise that came along with the Dream to Reality,” said Chamber Director Deb Hite. “We assumed we would make one presentation and make one person very happy. Billie Jo Joyce, our new economic development director, had another idea. She approached Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities about the possibility of making two people’s dreams come true.”
Cory Folkerts, Elite Electronics, was awarded the second grant. He will have the Verizon dealership in addition to computer repair, specializing in Apple products.
There were six applications in the first ever Dream to Reality Contest. The Chamber’s goal was to bring new business to the Emmetsburg community, serving other businesses in town and the community as a whole.
Four of the applicants were invited to pitch their dream to a panel of judges. Two of the applicants were disqualified because they did not meet the guidelines for the grant. Contest guidelines called for businesses that are retail, retail service or food based.
Mandy Long proposed a business called Relaxation and Rejuvenization. She will locate her massage therapy business in the back of her mother’s business, Cuts Unlimited.
“Mandy herself apart by being open night and weekends for people who can’t be away from their jobs during the day,” said Hite. “We congratulate you and know you have a very good plan.”
Linda Grzeslo proposed Linda’s Lattes. Linda’s plan was to start a coffee shop. Her plan did not rise to the top.
Winner of the Dream to Reality Contest receives a $10,000 cash prize. This is a draw-down method of eligible expenses.
One-year Chamber membership.
One-year Brand Builders ad in Emmetsburg Democrat/Reporter/Reminder.
One-year chamber Roll-up ad.
One-year KEMB-LP/Chamber TV Sports and Activities sponsorship package.
Business professional mentoring.
For the second winner, EMU agreed to fund a grant for $5,000.
One-year Chamber membership.
One-year chamber Roll-up ad.
Radio spots for a year.
Deja Brew LLC
Liz Hoppe accepted the big check with a smile, saying, “We’re hoping to be open before the holidays.”
Deja Brew will belocated in the old Look Who’s Stamping building in the middle of downtown. Liz says they will be open six days a week, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. initially.
The new business will serve coffees and teas, breakfast foods, and pannini sandwiches.
“We are thinking of offering a wine bar one night a week, just to see how it goes.”
The Dream to Reality Contest is sponsored by Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce. Funding for the contest was made possible through a grant from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation. Matching funds for the grant came from the Chamber’s RAGBRAI revenues.
Liz Hoppe said the idea of opening a coffee shop started when she was a student at Iowa State University.
“I think they (coffee shops) are such a unique place, you can do anything you like, and it’s a relaxing atmosphere for people.”
When she first saw the Dream to Reality Contest, the first deadline had already passed. Then her husband, Colin, saw that the deadline had been extended.
“We got started right away,” she said. “We sought out Kelly McCarty (Small Business Development Commission) right away for business plan mentoring.”
Liz had actually participated in a small business competition at Iowa State, which she won.
“I had the business plan and all the good stuff from that and I won that – so we went over it with Kelly and he said go ahead,” she said.
Because Liz had made a similar presentation in college, that helped a lot when she went before the review panel for Dream to Reality.
“I could better anticipate what kind of questions might come afterward. That helped a lot,” she said. And, practicing with Colin, also helped a lot.
Liz working at the Minnesota State Fair when Deb Hite called to tell her the great news.
“It was just overall excitement,” said Liz. “I couldn’t really tell anybody since she was in Minnesota. It was such great news. I’m ready to get going. I wish we could start tomorrow.”
Liz will be the business manager at Deja Brew. Colin will continue to work at Woodford Equipment.
Liz currently works at EPS in Graettinger in the marketing department. She will continue working there while fixing up the building.
After looking at several locations, the Hoppes decided to purchase the building at 913 Broadway.
“We could open it up right now, if we want,” she said. “Everything we want to do is cosmetic and just because we want to. Everything we want is there. Some of the equipment that was there from when it was a smoothie shop is useful to us. It was just a no-brainer to locate there.”
Liz has met with a roaster in Minneapolis and they do a whole smorgasbord of different beans: dark roast, light roast, espresso.
“We’ll do latte, cappuccino, black roast coffee, designer tea, anything you could imagine, smoothies,”‘ she said. “We will possibly be partnering with people in town who do protein shakes and make those available for a little bit of a health aspect.”
Other items offered at the new business include panini sandwiches, fresh fruit, bagels and muffins that they will bake themselves.
“We’ll see what people are looking for and go from there,” said the new business owner. “We’ll probably have wifi available to customers, and a tv with news playing.”
How did Liz and Colin come up with the name for their new business?
“I?was brainstorming with friends, and we came up with the name Deja Brew – it’s catchy and something that people will remember. We have thought about decorating with pictures of old town Emmetsburg, and that’s part of the deja vu aspect, too. A look back in history.”
With Liz as manager of the new business, she and Colin have budgeted for 32 hours of part time help each week. Their thoughts are to offer two 16-hours a week employees to start with.
Liz Hoppe graduated from Emmetsburg High School and went to Iowa State University. She was majoring in ag business, finance and marketing.
After college she worked in Cedar Falls before being offered a job back in the Emmetsburg area.
“I interviewed on a Tuesday and started the next Monday, so it was a really short turnaround,” she said.
Liz and Colin met the same week she moved back to the area and they can still technically be considered newlyweds.
Liz and Colin will begin their new business dream just as soon as possible in downtown Emmetsburg.