Iowa West Coast Initiative Business Spotlight: Coffee & Nosh

BUSINESS OWNER:  Stacy Orndorff
BUSINESS NAME:  Coffee & Nosh
MAIN PRODUCTS/SERVICES:  Coffee & Espresso Drinks, Sparkling Lemonade, Nosh Bowls, Cinnamon Roll Waffle Bites
LOCATION:  Greater Siouxland, events across Iowa, Omaha

Short description of your business:

We create shareable, unique, and fun food and drink experiences and bring them to your favorite events so you never have to worry about being without quality coffee and fresh food again.

What motivated you to start your business? What drives you each day? 

In the beginning it was to create something with my kids that would teach them about business, create jobs for them, and also generate income for our family.  After 3 years, the thing that drives me every day is those that believe in Coffee & Nosh including family, friends, our Nosh Crew, and our customers.  I don’t want to let anyone down.  They believe in our brand and our vision for the business and it pushes me to continue providing them with quality food, drinks, and service.

What’s unique about your business?

In our industry of food trucks, I think it is the type of food and drinks we offer and the customer service we provide.  Each drink is hand-crafted, made to order.  We utilize fresh produce from local growers in our food dishes.  We offer an array of lifestyle options (gluten-free, vegan, etc.).  Our menu and direction is customer-driven, always seeking input from them.  We strive to make connections with customers and our crew operates as an upbeat, positive team always trying to do the best job for our customers while having fun.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business? 

Figuring out supply and demand has been challenging, especially finding consistent, local products in quantities that will meet the demands of our customers.  Inventory management is ongoing.  Also being one of the first food trucks in Sioux City we are in uncharted territory and constantly evaluating what options fit our business model the best.

What has been your greatest reward? 

CONNECTIONS.  First our crew.  I never thought we could create a crew that would do such hard work and at the end of the day say it doesn’t feel like a job.  Secondly, our customers and community.  We have truly made new friends because they were first customers.  So many people from crew to customer feel like they are part of something big and want to connect with us.  It has been an unexpected reward.

How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?

Once I put myself out there, I found a group of like-minded people in Sioux City that support start-ups, entrepreneurship, and small businesses.  Through this, I have been able to tap into Iowa’s West Coast Initiative, attend Venture School, and participate in the Dream Big Grow Here contest to name a few.  Food Truck Fridays created by the City, Downtown Partners and SCGO as well as the Sioux City Farmers Market have served as invaluable catalysts to my business. I also tap into the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce for networking and resources and the SBDC for mentorship and resources.

Are there any experiences that were particularly influential in that regard?

I feel like each experience has played in important role in where I’m at today, each as equally important as the other and the timing of it all has worked for my benefit.

Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?

The economics of supporting small business makes sense.  Literally putting money in the hands of a business that is employing local people, buying local products, paying local taxes, and then also using profits to purchase local houses, cars, groceries, gas, etc.  It’s truly supporting your neighbor and community.  I think it is important to help startups by allowing them to fail in the beginning while they are figuring things out, giving them helpful feedback along with encouragement.  If you have a bad experience in the early stages, be mindful that the business is still figuring things out and give it a couple more tries before making a decision about the business.  Speak with the owner before leaving bad reviews, and remember that the business is trying to do what makes financial sense while figuring out the greatest need they are filling.  

What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business?

In hindsight, just owning my brand and understanding how it is an extension of myself and my creativity and not worrying about what others are doing and if I will measure up.  Knowing that if I show up and do consistent, quality things my customers will notice and my business will grow.  OH, and what layout would work best in the food truck.  So many things I would change!  

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?

Start with what you have and stop waiting until everything can be “perfect.”  Organic growth is underrated.  You don’t have to do everything at once, just keep taking steps towards growth.  And do everything with EXCELLENCE (something I often fail at, but always strive for).  

How can the community continue to help your business?

As we grow, realize that we still need support or promotion, etc.  When a business enters a 3rd or 4th year, MORE THAN EVER, they need your support.  We are going into more uncharted territory.  Just because we aren’t the new, young, start-up we once were doesn’t mean we don’t still have major hurdles to jump.  Shout us out, tag us in posts, word-of-mouth to friends and family, but most importantly come buy something from us once in awhile and know we still need and appreciate your business so much.  We’re in this for the long-haul and can’t do it without the continued support of our community.

What are some future goals for your company?

Short-term is to have the ability to be in 2 places at once, long-term is to be in several places (cities) at once.  This year we will be expanding our reach by attending large events in different areas outside of the Siouxland area. A longer-term goal is to join the 4.2% of businesses owned by women to cross the $1 million in yearly revenue mark.  Not necessarily a SMART goal, because we haven’t put a time on it, but is something we continue to work towards.

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