Elizabeth Hoppe (’13 Finance and Marketing) spends most of her days in a coffee shop. And no, she isn’t blogging, studying, or catching up with a friend. Rather, she is catching up with many friends, new and old, as the co-owner of DejaBrew in Emmetsburg. Hoppe and her husband, Colin, recently opened their second DejaBrew in Spencer, Iowa. But this impressive young businesswoman wasn’t always so entrepreneurial-minded.
Like many Iowans, Hoppe grew up on a row-crop operation and was exposed to livestock through the sheep, cattle, pigs and chickens that her grandparents raised. When it was time to head off to college, Iowa State was the obvious choice. She was drawn to the International Business minor and study abroad opportunities that were offered. “My family had been Cyclone fans my whole life so that didn’t hurt either,” joked Hoppe.
She stayed busy at Iowa State, double majoring in Finance and Marketing as well as completing a minor in Agricultural Business. She was an active member of Delta Sigma Pi and also participated in Colleges against Cancer.
However it wasn’t until her senior year when she was sitting in Econ 334, Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, that Hoppe began to realize her entrepreneurial potential. Her idea to create a bowling alley in Emmetsburg won the class business plan competition, and she was hooked. “I never had any intention of being an entrepreneur in college, but I’m so glad I took that class,” reflected Hoppe.
Hoppe took the traditional path after college and enjoyed working in what was to be her only corporate job before founding DejaBrew. In July of 2016, Emmetsburg had a grant competition, and the couple entered their business plan for a coffee shop. They found out they had won in August, purchased the building in October, and opened shop on December 12th, 2016. “It was a crazy year,” laughed Hoppe.
“We’ve had so much support from our families and the community since we opened, and they’ve been instrumental in helping us make adjustments to the business,” Hoppe elaborated. The biggest challenge for the couple has simply been finding employees in a small town like Emmetsburg.
The decision to open a new shop in Spencer came after the couple completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. This program provides entrepreneurs with access to education, capital, and business support services. “Once in the program, it became evident that the best way for us to grow our business was to add another location,” explained Hoppe. “We started to get really excited at the prospect of being able to offer the space and product of DejaBrew to another market.” The opportunity to expand was too good to pass up, and in July of 2019, the couple opened the Spencer location
What does the future hold for DejaBrew? “At this point two locations is our sweet spot. We’re really happy with being in two communities, and our goal is to keep our business style completely genuine and focused on what the communities need individually,” emphasized Hoppe.
I was met with a lively trivia night upon my visit to the Spencer location. Outside the shop, a couple sipped wine while overlooking the river, completely oblivious to the competitive banter inside. A smiling Hoppe greets customers as they arrive, and I can’t help but think that she is accomplishing her goal.
Hoppe Family Grand Opening of DejaBrew in Spencer, IA Elizabeth and Colin at DejaBrew in Emmetsburg, IA
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