Jessica Kannegieter started her small business on a whim, at a suggestion from her beautician. In October 2011, after some research and obtaining a loan, Jess opened Mud on Main, a coffee shop and café in Aurelia that offers gourmet coffees and wonderful food.
Over the next few years the business had its ups and downs, but Jess persevered and added sales of her delicious chicken salad to many local stores. In January 2015, on advice from Marcy Brown at the Cherokee Economic Development office, Jess went to Todd Rausch at the Western Iowa Tech Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Sioux City for business assistance.
Meeting in early February 2015, Todd was a mentor and sounding board, helping with company financials, a business plan, market research, and coaching Jess to pitch her business in April at a regional business competition, where her company was a finalist.
In August 2015 Jess went back to the SBDC for help with company cash flow and pricing. She says, “Todd helped me keep myself above water and on track. Being a small business owner is a lot mental strength and Todd helped me think about my business in different ways and kept encouraging me.”
After getting more SBDC advice in the spring of 2016, Jess purchased a trailer, called Mud on Wheels, so she could deliver her gourmet coffees to different farmers’ markets in Northwest Iowa. Jess delivered to farmers’ markets, corporate offices, and some local events, plus she hired six part-time employees to help with her expanded territory.
Jess had a great year, with sales clearing nearly $130,000. By July of 2017 Jess was looking for new ways to expand her business, so she sold her trailer and bought a coffee shop in Cherokee. She went back to Todd for more advice and help with revising financials, to make sure her new venture was a good risk.
In September 2017 Jess opened her company’s second shop, hired two more full-time and five part-time employees, for a total of 14 employees.
Company sales in Aurelia have remained constant since opening and the Cherokee shop is already on a path to quadrupling its projected sales. Jess applauds the assistance she’s received from the SBDC saying, “The SBDC is a great asset to rural communities that need help to build businesses in their communities.” She also plans on going back to Todd for more advice as she needs it.
Future plans include making both locations more profitable so they can be managed by others, freeing up Jess so she can spend more time with her four young children. To find out more about Mud on Main visit www.mudonmain.com, www.facebook.com/mudonmain, or www.facebook.com/mudonmaincherokee.