From running a pastry hobby business to owning a successful coffee shop, Lynsi Steed is living her best life and loving being her own boss.
After realizing that opening a storefront for her pastry business wouldn’t be profitable on its own, Lynsi turned to her local Chamber of Commerce for resources to help her achieve her entrepreneurial dreams. With a referral from the chamber, she contacted the Center for Rural Affairs for assistance in starting her business and found an avenue that led to success.
Working alongside Lori Schrader, loan specialist for the Center, Lynsi received a loan from the Center in December 2019 and purchased Red Door Coffee in West Point, Nebraska and merged it with her bakery.
Lynsi got the pieces to fit thanks to assistance from the Center and a few months of on-site support from the previous owners to navigate the ins and outs of operating the coffee side of the shop.
“Owning my own business wasn’t necessarily what I had in mind for my life until I went to college and realized why I was so unhappy working for other people,” she said. “I finally figured it out, that this was what I meant to do, that I was meant to be my own boss.”
In addition, Lori referred Lynsi to local business experts who taught her best practices to maximize profits.
“I have had several visits to the shop and worked with Lynsi to get some technical assistance for her bookkeeping, which helped take a lot off of her shoulders,” said Lori. “She has remained open during COVID-19, due to having a drive-thru, which saved the business. Lynsi isn't afraid to work hard, and totally enjoys owning her own business.”
Lynsi advises anyone who wants to open a business to do their research first.
“Once you figure out what you want to do, make sure you know everything you can about the business,” she said. “My biggest thing is to embrace the pressure, because there will be pressure, and it’s all in the way you handle that pressure.”
Lynsi knows about working under pressure all too well, from learning how to operate a coffee shop and decorating custom baked goods to keeping her business open throughout the pandemic. Despite the stress, she’s grateful for the opportunity to have her own successful business.
“Being my own boss has definitely been a big draw,” she said. “Being able to make decisions for myself without having to verify with a line of people, and being able to do what I truly love has made being a business owner really wonderful.”
Residents of West Point, and those traveling through town, can find a variety of goods at Red Door Coffee, a full-service coffee shop. Lynsi and her four part-time employees sell delicious beverages, including coffee, tea, and smoothies. They offer a breakfast menu, and serve lunch Monday through Friday. Additionally, she sells baked goods, including custom-decorated cakes, cookies, pies, and more.
Down the road, Lynsi hopes to expand and open branches in area communities, and knows she can count on the Center to help.
“I absolutely trust the Center. Lori has been the best adviser I could possibly ask for,” said Lynsi. “She’s always super helpful and answers all my questions. Everybody at the Center has been great.”
At a glance
Red Door Coffee, LLC
243 S. Lincoln St.
West Point, Nebraska
Hours: Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to noon