soulchatsimage“My name is Deb Irvin and I own West Side Perk Coffee House in West Bloomington, Minnesota. It was my dream to bring to my community a place where folks could gather, share their interests, show off their artwork and crafting, all while being served a great product of coffee and light fare.

As a small business owner knows or realizes, as the dream unfolds it is necessary to wear many hats. In the beginning you are architect, general contractor, painter, carpenter, interior designer, cleaning crew, etc. When you finally have assembled the bones of your business you become purchaser, HR director, employee trainer, accountant, coffee purchaser, grocery shopper, delivery person, scheduler and even a barista when you are short staffed….the list goes on and on. Daunting challenge to anyone looking in from the outside – but because you have this passion to provide opportunity for connections to your neighborhood and community, it never really seems like it is too much.

So you open your doors to your passion and you welcome any new person that walks in the door. You realize very quickly that you would really like it if more people knew about what you have to offer so you become a crash student of social media, networking and advertising. Facebook, Constant Contact, Coupons and Loyalty cards become your new best friends that go out into the community and make your neighbors aware that you have something they just have to see. Here is where it gets tricky.

What do you have for them? Really. What does your little enterprise have to offer that no one else does?

Pam Pech strolled into my world as a customer. She came in with some friends to have a meeting if I remember correctly. We hit it off right away. Little did I know that her wheels were rolling and that I was about to meet someone that was on the same track I was – only she was an outside expert on “Connections” who had the ideas and resources to make my dream of a “Coffee with Community” become a realization.

With creative thought and planning – using her resources and connections – Pam meticulously organized events that would take place at West Side Perk. The events she planned were almost effortless on my part. I just had to be the venue. She brought in new customers that passed the word around about this great little coffee house. If you are a small business owner you know that a good word is priceless. Her goal is to connect people and resources and that fit just perfectly with my dream for my community to have a place where you could go. We actually accomplished becoming that “Third Place” through top of the mind awareness.

I highly recommend that you sit a spell with Pam. Talk with her. Tell her your dreams and your hopes for your business and watch what happens. I am the type of person who likes to listen and then watch and see what happens. I love hearing people talk about and plan their dreams and I know that Pam has a similar type of personality as I do. We listen, we dream, we plan and then we make those dreams reality.”