Photo: Art Sidner
Mankato: Mankato Coffeehouse
While Darla Manke just opened her new coffee shop in downtown Mankato in February, she’s actually a coffee pro by now. Manke, owner of the Mankato Coffeehouse, is from Waseca originally, graduating from Waseca High School and continuing on to MSU-Mankato, where she studied parks and recreation along with business administration. After graduation, she and her husband moved to Princeton, where at first she stayed home to raise her four children. As they grew older, she started taking office jobs in the area, but everything changed when she heard her company was shutting down.
She considered going back to school to earn her master’s degree, but then a local coffee shop, the Coffee Corner, went up for sale. And that got her thinking. After crunching some numbers, she thought she could make the business profitable, so she bought the shop in 2003.
“It wasn’t that I knew a lot about coffee at the time,” she said. “I thought I knew a lot about business until I jumped in and found out how much I didn’t know. I learned. I worked 50-60 hours a week. When you work that hard, it eventually pays off.”
Manke sold the Coffee Corner in 2007 but continued to run another company she owned, Manke’s Business Services, which offers payroll and accounting services. While Manke enjoyed the business side of things, she missed the personal interactions with her customers.
“I missed the people part of the business,” she said.
She kept her eye out for another coffee shop opportunity and eventually found it in Mankato, opening the Mankato Coffeehouse in February. She has seven employees and says business is picking up as the word gets out—especially about her signature drink, the Mudslide.
“We keep getting busier and busier,” she said.
Manke added that she hopes to add more events at the shop as time goes on, as well as becoming more involved in events throughout the community.
Address: 251 Bunting Lane
Facebook Page: Mankato Coffeehouse