For entrepreneur Hailey Rogers, owning a coffee shop is about creating an environment that encourages interpersonal connections and being the best local small-batch roaster serving a variety of specialty coffees. At the Coffee Hound on South Mason Street in Harrisonburg, you will feel welcomed and so will your canine companion. The dog-friendly space is a nod to Hailey’s love for dogs and an additional way to make customers feel at home.
“I was inspired to open a coffee shop because of how the coffee shop environment brings people together. I wanted to have a neutral space where anyone and everyone could feel welcome,” says Hailey.
The road to small business ownership was a whirlwind for the Harrisonburg native, who took over the former Shenandoah Joe in November 2021.
When Hailey, the manager of Shenandoah Joe, was unexpectedly offered the opportunity to purchase the café, she knew it was a path to fulfilling her dream of being her own boss. But she quickly experienced several obstacles; including needing to secure adequate, immediate funding to make purchasing the business possible.
Enter Allison Dugan, a business advisor at the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, who helped Hailey with the necessary steps to make Coffee Hound a reality.
A high-interest personal loan got Hailey started, but becoming an SBDC client helped her work out the kinks of business development.
Allison helped Hailey form a business plan in order to apply for a loan through Harrisonburg Economic Development.
Hailey says, “Allison Dugan provided me with every necessary document I needed to complete my loan application. I found the cash flow projections she provided and helped me fill out to be extremely helpful.”
Hailey, who emphasizes the personal touch as part of her business philosophy, found that a personal connection with Allison was a definite plus. “Allison was always professional and able to answer any questions I had. She worked with my schedule to find time to meet with me via Zoom and give necessary feedback on my work. Her dedication to my success was apparent throughout every conversation we had.”
She goes on to recommend that other small business owners take advantage of the one-on-one counseling available through the SBDC, “Having an advisor right there with me to give input while I worked through what my business needed was crucial to my success.”
When you visit Coffee Hound, make sure to say hi to Gatsby, the Italian greyhound that inspired the name!