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College student reflects on owning coffee shop

| Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Busy times are brewing for Saint Mary’s student and cafe owner, Hope Celmer. The senior said she and her husband recently opened The French Press Coffee Company in downtown Plymouth, Indiana.

“We opened in May, so we’re pretty close to our anniversary,” she said. “But we started working on it last January, so we’ve been doing it over a year now.”

Celmer said the cafe is more than a coffee stop — it also sells freshly made food.

“We do coffee, and espresso and tea … but we also do food, she said. “ … We make everything, so we bake breads, and do desserts and soups and salads.”

The couple both shared a passion for the food industry, Celmer said.

“So, me and my husband both knew we wanted to open a restaurant,” she said. “That’s where we always worked was at restaurants. That’s what he went to school for, was entrepreneurship.”

They decided to run a coffee shop after their landlord approached them with the idea, she said.

“There used to be a coffee shop where we are now and they left all there was other stuff in there,” Celmer said.“Then when the place that was there was leaving, [our landlord] reached out to us and she’s like ‘hey we think there should be a coffee shop here, you know this is something you guys want to do is restaurant stuff, what do you think?’”

Celmer said she and her husband went through Plymouth’s economic development corporation for a small business loan and then went into planning their shop.

“We had to make a whole business plan and spent months researching everything about coffee because we had no idea what we were doing,” she said. “Just spent a lot of time on the internet just reading and watching videos and reading more things and trying a lot of espresso. And we’re like ‘let’s do it’ so, I quit my job and we did it and it was terrifying.”

As a business owner and a student, Celmer said she commutes to campus every day.

“It’s 40 minutes just a straight shot south,” she said. “I literally just take one road the whole way, which is really handy.”

Celmer said that while she is busy with both classes and her business, she is used to the fast pace.

“So, I’ve always worked full-time while I’ve been at school,” she said. “So, in some ways it’s not crazy different. It’s more hours, it’s more responsibility, but I can now change me schedule in some ways to fit around my classes or get to be in charge so I can make it work.”

Celmer said a set plan for how to run the business is important.

“It’s a lot, but I like being busy and I like being organized,” she said. “So, I just write everything down and drink a lot of coffee and study a lot at while I’m at work.”

While she misses having the free time of a college student, Celmer said she enjoys what she does out of class.

“Sometimes I wish that I had more time to read, or go to lectures, or different extracurricular stuff,” she said.“But I also like being out there and doing real world stuff. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

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