Since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has risen 3,000 percent. It’s an impressive statistic, especially considering the fact that women were required to have a male co-signer to get a loan until 1988.
About a year ago, Lindsey Hirschey followed her dream of becoming a business owner when she took over the Stomping Grounds coffee shop in Staples. She says it took a “leap of faith” to make that transition into entrepreneurism. But her investment and hard work are paying off.
Stomping Grounds has been a fixture in the small town for about 15 years. When Hirschey learned the shop was about to close last summer, she saw an exciting opportunity.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of coffee and always had that as my thing that when I got older I wanted to own my own shop,” explains Hirschey.
Hirschey previously managed Giovanni’s Pizza and enjoys working in the service industry. When her son was a toddler, she took a job with an optical shop in order to have more family-friendly hours. But now that he’s older, she has more flexibility.
Hirschey credits her husband Joel for being incredibly supportive of the venture. He also helps with advertising. Stomping Grounds takes advantage of free advertising through Google and Facebook.
She says the shop has had wonderful community support. It has many regulars and has seen many new customers as well. In the tight-knit community, local businesses refer people to Hirschey’s shop and she does the same for them.
Under its new ownership, the shop has undergone some positive changes. The food menu has expanded to include flatbreads as well as soups in the cooler months. The hours have been extended too.
Stomping Grounds serves four types of fresh brewed coffee each day of the week and two on the weekends. Every few months, it has rotating latte flavors. Some of the shop’s signature drinks have been tested this way with customers.
The shop has three employees. All of them are from Staples or married to people from town, according to Hirschey. She says the spot serves as an important local gathering place for friends, families and community groups.
Eventually, Hirschey says she might like to find a location where they can expand to have a drive-up window. But for now, she’s enjoying all the challenges of being a new business owner.
“Every day I go in there’s something new. I absolutely love it,” she says. “I think to myself, ‘I’m really doing this, I’m living my dream.’”