Welcome to another episode of The Marketer’s Edge, a series designed to share senior level marketing perspective about marketer challenges, opportunities, and agency relationships. Our goal is to help marketers and agencies learn from other marketers across different industries. Today we are speaking with Autumn Pruitt, Small Business Owner at Hardy Coffee Co. in Omaha, NE.

Hardy Coffee Co.

Founded in 2010 by Autumn Pruitt and her husband Luke, Hardy Coffee Co. started off as a small bakery that was subleased from Aromas Coffeehouse. A year and a half later, they purchased the coffee shop and have since opened three additional locations. In 2015, they began roasting their own coffee under the brand Hardy Coffee Co. and later brought every piece (bakery, coffee shops, roasting lab) and location (downtown, Benson, North Omaha, Chalco) of the business under that unified name—Autumn’s maiden name. For Autumn and her husband, specialty coffee (and all that goes with it) isn’t so much about indulgence, but ritual—having places and moments and things in life that add value and create rhythm.

What We Discussed:

In today’s interview with Autumn Pruitt, we discussed a wide variety of issues:

  • Autumn’s journey from starting as a bakery to owning multiple locations of Hardy Coffee Co. and her role as the CEO handling sales and marketing.
  • Marketing strategies including: word-of-mouth; social media; email marketing for promotions; and content creation for engaging customers.
  • How she differentiates her business from competitors.
  • Expansion from retail-only to B2B sales through roasting for wholesale accounts, showcasing growth in the business.
  • Challenges in managing retail locations compared to wholesale business, and the importance of delegation and strategic focus for growth.
  • Consolidating multiple brands under Hardy Coffee Company for better brand identity, and the challenges faced during the rebranding process internally and externally.
  • How Autumn goes about learning and development, from exploration of new coffee flavors, varieties, and trends through relationships with suppliers and industry events to focus on research and development for product improvement.
  • Her experience working with agencies and how they can bring a personalized approach and clear value proposition to the business.
  • Advice for small business owners and the importance of gaining industry experience before starting a business, as well as  mentorship and building a supportive network of entrepreneurs.
  • Discussion on balancing working in the business versus on the business, prioritizing tasks, and effective delegation of responsibilities.
  • Her involvement in local community events, collaborations with local photographers, and using retail locations as showrooms to engage with customers directly.
  • Autumn’s continuous learning and actively seeking new marketing approaches, technologies, and consumer trends through various sources like podcasts, books, seminars, and input from team members.
  • Advice Autumn would give to marketers looking to bring a new agency onboard.
  • Autumn’s advice for agencies looking to win business from marketers.

Thanks Autumn for a great interview!

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