Heather Mitchell ’01, owner of Hazel’s Coffee and Roasing Company, believes that the connections she has made and the support she has been given by Missouri Western and the Center for Entrepreneurship have helped her thrive in her journey as a small business owner.
“Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I always knew I wanted to own a small business,” Mitchell said. When Hazel’s was listed for sale, Mitchell was working for a similar business in St. Joseph, “but I was doing it for someone else.” She didn’t want to see her favorite coffee shop that is loved by many locals permanently shut down. She reached out to the Center for Entrepreneurship and asked what it would take buy the business.
Mitchell has been working with Missouri Western and the Center for Entrepreneurship ever since. “It is an amazing service that they offer for us [entrepreneurs],” Mitchell said. She worked closely with Annette Weeks, executive director of the center for entrepreneurship, throughout the whole process, from inventorying, determining the value of the name Hazel’s and all other steps that needed to be taken before the business could be sold.
When you want to pursue an entrepreneurial career, you need to “[h]ave your whole heart in it. Seek out people who will rally around you and support you through it,” Mitchell said. “But also those who can reel you in or you’ll be going in 20 different directions.”
Looking back at the past decades that she has been connected with Missouri Western, one aspect still stands out. “Missouri Western is very friendly. It was 20 years ago, and it still is when I come back out.”