Small Business Spotlight: Gracie's Coffee

“As a fresh post-college student, I would never have been able to open the coffee shop without the funding received through CEF. It made it so that my dream to open my coffee shop could become a reality."
– Gracie Rounds, Owner
Gypsum, CO | Woman-Owned Food & Beverage Start-Up Business
Owner: Gracie Rounds

Q&A with Owner, Gracie Rounds

Give a high level overview of your business. What products or services you offer, where you're located, etc.
Gracie’s Coffee is a walk-up and drive-thru location in the center of the Rocky Mountains, offering single origin coffee beans from Peru’s Sacred Valley in the form of drip coffee, espresso based drinks, and cold brew. For those that seek alternative drinks, they offer high quality matcha, chai, and tea as well as many options for kids. It opened in November of 2022, and since then has received an abundance of community support and love for the quality coffee that is served. Gracie’s roots in the coffee world run deep. Her dad owns a coffee/outdoor store in Western NY called Adventure Bound and Ellicottville Coffee Company. Over the past eight years, Gracie worked on and off in her parents’ business during breaks from the University of Vermont and between travels. Ellicottville Coffee (and now Gracie’s Coffee) source their beans from Peru where her father co-owned and managed a restaurant/café in the Sacred Valley of Peru outside of Cusco, en route to Machu Picchu. Her father’s Peruvian fiancé helps maintain the Peruvian coffee finca connection and contacts. Gracie’s customers love the fact that she spent time living in the mountains of Peru, has done multiple high altitude treks there, and loves the region and coffee. Gracie has a deep connection to the Vail Valley where she spent a good portion of her child-hood growing up in Eagle, her dad attended Vail Mountain School, and her grandparents met on the slopes of Vail in the 60’s.

What was the process like to start your small business?
As a 19-year-old, the idea of starting my own business seemed like a daunting task. From construction options, to marketing, and all of the in-betweens, the start-up process felt like a long and arduous journey. But after everything, I feel so much more prepared for anything life throws at me.

Describe your typical customer and what you love about your customers.
My favorite customers to come and visit Gracie's Coffee are moms dropping their kids off at school. They pull up to the coffee hut in their pajamas and look at me with such gratitude for not being forced to get out of the car!

How did your journey lead you to Colorado Enterprise Fund?
I worked with individuals from the Small Business Association who pointed me towards this organization to help with start-up costs. I couldn't be more thankful for choosing this group to work with for all the support they have given me in so many different ways.

What was your experience like when trying to get funding for your business? Ie, how long had you been looking? Did you experience difficulties, etc.?

I am really appreciative for the process that I went through with CEF to secure funding. It felt like a really long and complicated process where I had to provide so much information, but I felt like that was such an important part to build accountability and really plan things out.

What was different about working with CEF compared to other lenders?
Like I mentioned previously, the individuals at CEF have continued to support me in my business venture to this day. I was especially amazed when one consultant who I've worked closely with actually came to visit my coffee hut!

How did the funding you received from CEF make a difference for you, your employees, or even your community?
As a fresh post-college student, I would never have been able to open the coffee shop without the funding received through CEF. It made it so that my dream to open my coffee shop could become a reality.

Tell us about some of the defining moments for you in your business, whether struggles or successes.
A couple weeks ago a long-time regular customer of mine came to visit the coffee hut with her new baby. This customer was someone who I had interacted with daily for months, and knew her order by heart but didn't even know her name. I also didn't know that while she had been pregnant throughout the past year, she had been experiencing an extremely difficult pregnancy. She said that while this was going on, the only thing that made her feel better each day was coming to the coffee hut. So, when she gave birth to her baby, she decided to name her Gracie. I felt like that was one of the most impactful things in my whole life!

Have you worked with our Business Navigation (coaching) team? What difference has working with them made for your business?

What difference has working with them made for your business?
Like I have mentioned, the team members that I have worked with have been so supportive. Any time I run into issues I feel like I can contact them for support.

What is something you're looking forward to in the next 3-6 months in your business?
We are offering a cold brew product that we brew and can in-house to retailers throughout Colorado! We are adding new retailers every week, and are really excited to see where that adventure takes us.



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