Switching from burgers to coffee was easy, this entrepreneur says.
Steve Patterson is co-owner of Nature’s Grind Coffee Co., opening this week in Zumbrota in a 20-person space formerly housing Java Junction off Highway 52.
Patterson and co-owner Brian Miller also own Lansing’s Corners in Austin, with Patterson saying the transition from burgers to coffee seemed a natural one to him.
“We figured it wouldn’t be that big of a transition to switch from burgers to coffee so we planned to take on this project as well,” Patterson said. “It’s something we’ve done before and that’s why we think we can handle it.”
Java Junction closed on Feb. 5, and its owners have been immensely helpful to Patterson and Miller in getting Nature’s Grind Coffee Co. underway, Patterson said.
“The previous owners have been super helpful,” he said. “Training us, answering questions about what sells good and what could be eliminated at the coffee shop.”
The 1,800-square-foot coffee shop will feature not only coffee hailing from Java Junction’s menu, but also breakfast sandwiches, and soups and sandwiches for lunch.
“We’re optimistic,” Patterson said. “We basically just kind of simplified the menu. That’s what we did at Lansing’s Corners and it seemed to work very well for us.”
Everything served is of good quality, he said, aimed at pleasing the customer. Their goal with Nature’s Grind is to bring value to the community as they’ve done in Austin, he said.
As for his resume, Patterson was in sales for 10 years, then worked at Mayo Clinic and has also worked in the service industry. He’s been everything from a bouncer to a dishwasher so “it was easy to transition into a leadership role at the bar and grill,” he said. “I had a little experience in everything and now we’re hoping that translates into coffee too.”
Patterson graduated from Winona State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s of science in elementary education. Business owner is now his full-time occupation.
“I’m working 80 hours a week between Lansing’s and the coffee shop so I don’t really have much time for anything else,” Patterson said. “You have to be there and be present.”
“Then you can kind of let other people do it,” he said. “It’s a grind and persistence is a big thing. We’ve failed several times trying to open a business. Persistence is huge.”
When it comes to Nature’s Grind, it only took a month to open to the public. “It’s just one of those things where we’re better off with the doors open,” he said.