How many times have you been told you are too young to do something? When you are a young adult or teenager you hear this daily from people around you because people think you need experience to know what you want. You don’t have to listen to these people saying you are too young because there is a success story right here in Fargo.
In 2014, two sisters, Sunday Stevens and Paige Loftus, had an idea to open a coffee shop in North Fargo, North Dakota. They were both in their teenage years when they began a journey to open their own business. It was up and running in early 2017 and continues to grow.
The idea came from the simple fact that, “We (Stevens and Loftus) saw a gap in the North Fargo community: a demand for a sit-down, excellent quality coffee shop in the area,” Stevens says. While working at Little Caesars, Stevens was always told about how people missed the old coffee shop across the street called “Gloria Jean’s” and just like that an idea kept growing.
Automatically, Stevens was given an entrepreneur mind-set by living with her family who worked 80 to 100-hour workweeks. Along with this, she was home-schooled from fourth-12th grade so this added to her entrepreneur mind-set and allowed it to grow brighter. “At age 7 I was sitting in at meetings with business owners, lawyers and more, sitting up straight and taking notes like everybody else; at 15 I was going to Portland for a National Coffee Fest where I was the primary face for Fargo Coffee,” Steven shares.
Fargo Coffee strives to create a young and family-friendly area. They not only want there to be students studying, but to also have a family relaxing right next to them. Stevens enjoys the fact that they can have a variety of people in their coffee shop. From toddlers loving the monster donuts to students enjoying free Wi-Fi and even senior citizens enjoying coffee in the morning.
Stevens explained that the difference between opening a business at an older age compared to a younger age is the prejudice against you. ”You have to work tremendously harder to get people’s respect and full attention in business meeting and negotiations,” Stevens explained. She shared how she likes “the challenge and love to surprise with my maturity and clarity of mind.” That’s right, at this young age we are able to be mature and, if we want, even own a business.
As young adults, Stevens explains “you must prove them wrong.” When people say you cannot do something because it is “too hard” prove them wrong.
“Look 10, 15 years ahead and ask yourself if you’d be okay with the possibility of being at the same business, doing the same tasks you decided to commit to a decade ago,” Stevens shares. This goes for any type of career or life decision. You should look in the future whenever making a big decision and think if you were stuck with that for the next 10 years would you hate or love that decision you are about to make.
Now, you must be thinking that people with these success stories must have never thought about quitting, but this is not the case for Stevens. “I don’t want anyone to think that any part of opening your own business is an easy or fast task,” Stevens declares. There were problems they ran into and obviously it would become frustrating. “What kept me going was the vision,” Stevens says. So, when you start getting discouraged from your major or classes, think about the end game and how good that success will feel when you get there.
When asked to give advice to young people looking forward to owning a business, she wanted to make sure people do not underestimate or overestimate themselves. Stevens clarifies by saying, “It’s an immense amount of work and responsibility, and once those contracts, loans and leases are signed, there’s no going back.” Doing research creates an understanding for yourself, so make sure to mix that with commitment and determination.
“Finally, be prepared to walk, talk, think and act like a boss. You are one!” Sunday Stevens says.