As of this past June, it’s been 11 years since Fika has been in business. As I’m looking back, I realize that I’ve learned a few things since we initially started roasting coffee out of a small shed in Grand Marais back in 2012. Here are a five of those reflections:
My kids are a good timeline for the business. Our oldest Claire is 16 and in 11th grade, Fika is in its 11th year. Leif our third born is 12 he was only 1 year old when I bought the roaster and it’s all he knows. Jude our youngest, is 6 years old. We found out that Stephanie was pregnant with him pretty much right around the time we opened the doors to the cafe here in Lutsen. Although our business has gone through many shifts and looks different than it did in our early years, there’s something about comparing its age alongside growing children that brings a deeper awareness to the length of time we have been in business.
“I’m sorry, what is your name?” At first I thought I was good with names and after only a year or two of having the cafe open, I soon realized I was horrible at remembering names. What I am good at is remembering people’s stories when I meet them in the shop. It’s our stories that make us who we are and I absolutely love hearing people’s stories. If I could just fika in the cafe all day long when people come in, I’d really be living my dream.
Owning a business is kind of like marriage: it’s a sanctification process and my weaknesses are there for everyone to see. My co-workers probably get a glimpse of what it is like for my wife, Stephanie, to be married to me. For example, if I’m not communicating well with Stephanie about what I’m thinking, planning, etc and it just stays in my head, it’s a sure sign that my employers are always wanting better communication from me, too.
Fun videos come when we have nothing else to do. Here is a Fika pro tip: go to our Facebook page and scroll way way back and have a good laugh. In doing research for this blog post, I just spent too much time looking back at old videos in the Facebook feed. I like to laugh and laugh at my own jokes, too. We used to make more videos in our early years because the cafe would be slow. Despite being grateful for the decrease in down time, we miss the built-in space for creating those videos and hope to find ways to create it in the future. We assume we’re probably not the only ones missing Rippin’ Chip.
- People love a maple latte. I don't proclaim a lot of things, but I will proclaim this: Fika Coffee in Lutsen, MN is the Home of the Maple Latte. Sure, we may not have been the first ones to make it and we may not make as many as other places, but when there are 30,000 maple trees in your backyard that get tapped each season, it’s kind of a big deal. Of all espresso based drinks we made this year so far, 34% of them have been Maple Lattes.
With that, we'd love to know your thoughts. What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in the last 11 years? We'd love to hear in the comments.
Also, enjoy the photo gems below from the early years of Fika Coffee.