Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success
In the 1700s the word entrepreneur entered our vocabulary, meaning adventurer. The meaning has been honed over the centuries, it is now widely regarded as one who launches and runs a new business. However, entrepreneurs remain adventurers at heart–taking on great risks based on an idea or expertise one has developed in hopes of making a profit.
Jeremy and Carrie Sharp are two such adventurers following a dream. The Sharps are entrepreneurs who based their business plan on their passions: coffee, wine and craft beer. They also knew they wanted to pursue their first business in an area they are passionate about: Waseca.
“Jeremy bought the State & Elm Building on July 2, 2018, and right away we started a remodeling project,” says Carrie Sharp. “Trio opened on Oct. 20, 2018. We’ve always loved this building and wanted to open a business here in Waseca.”
While Jeremy owns the building, Carrie owns its featured tenant, Trio Coffee, Wine & Ale House. “Trio is a concept based on an idea that several people might want to go out and not everyone wants the same thing,” explains Carrie. “You might have one friend who loves coffee, another who enjoys wine and another who enjoys craft beer but you also want something to eat and don’t want to leave, so why not have it all?
“To top it off, we love live music and the arts and felt like there was a need to showcase local talent musically and through art work. This is a concept that is taking off and it’s relatively new but we wanted to bring that to our wonderful town. Our menu is simple with panini sandwiches, salads, from-scratch soups, quesadillas, desserts, including our popular bread puddings, and of course, our Korean BBQ Street Tacos. We wanted a little bit of everything. Looking for an antipasto platter to go along with your wine flight, we’ve got that!
“If you’re looking for a great place for young and old to hang out, grab a bite to eat, have a drink and maybe play a board game or listen to music, Trio is the place. That was our dream and our vision!” explains Carrie.
But as all entrepreneurs encounter, there are sleepless nights on the way to pursuing your dreams and clarifying your vision.
“By far our biggest challenge is getting the word out there about what we are. It’s in the name but it’s hard for people to get that we have coffee, wine and beer …and food! We really do have it all. What’s more, we try to keep it local. Our coffee is from a local roaster, European Roasterie out of Le Center, Minnesota, and our beer is primarily from breweries in Minnesota. Our wines are from small boutique wineries with wines not carried commonly in this area. We’re trying to be unique and different and not have the same beers and wines that others in the area might have!
“Our aim is to be educational and get you to try something different. We have a great music scene going on here and work hard to find great local talent but there again is another challenge, how do we get people to stay local?”
While they want to see the evening business pick up a bit, their the lunch crowd has been a pleasant surprise.
“The overwhelming response to our lunch menu has been amazing. So amazing that it has grown to triple the items that we initially had. We originally intended to keep our food very small and simple and really focus on our drinks but we’ve become more of a lunch destination. We’re quite happy with lunch but would love to see our breakfast and evenings take off. We’re a great hangout and date destination, whatever time of day that fits.”
The Sharps’ advice for other budding entrepreneurs is to follow your dreams, but find balance along the way.
“Dream big but do your research and know what you want and stay true to you! What has been so meaningful has been interviews and events where we’ve been asked to speak about the business. It’s such a great opportunity to look back at our original concept and think about where we are today. This has been valuable as you learn to balance what you want with what the customer wants. Can you balance that? Can you listen but still remain true to your dream? Also, find some great mentors and other businesses that you can rely on to listen to you and with whom you can take advice.”
A Passion for Giving Back
In the back of Trio, you’ll find a Pay It Forward bulletin board.
“This is a charity that Jeremy discovered when talking to a local friend and school teacher, Kris Lapides. Jeremy and I have known Kris for a while and we came to her asking for something we could do to give back and she told us about the Backpack Program. Honestly, we didn’t know much about it but once we did, we were all in! Basically, you buy a coffee sleeve for someone, put their name on the coffee sleeve and post it on the Pay it Forward bulletin board at Trio, tag the individual on social media along with Trio and that’s it! The person comes in and they can redeem their coffee sleeve for any coffee they’d like but the cool part is 10% of the proceeds go to the Backpack Program! To date, we’ve been able to donate over $100 to the Backpack Program, which enables over 50 kids to have food over the weekend! That’s what it’s all about,” says Carrie.
The Sharps’ Other Passions
“Right now we are very consumed with our business but absolutely love to follow our 17-year-old son with his music! He’s active in band and choir and performs on guitar/vocals and drums in a number of different areas. Personally, I love walking with my dog, Jack, and we still continue on with our visits to area breweries, wineries and coffee shops … hey, it’s what got us started here in the first place and any chance we can get to discover a new love!” says Carrie.
Trio Coffee, Wine & Ale House
100 North State Street #101
Waseca, MN 56093