Couple brews up a coffee shop in Chappell

Small Business

Even with full-time jobs and full lives, Brandon and Lisa Hixon wanted to contribute more to their hometown of Chappell, Nebraska.

“We wanted to give something to the town that we thought would make it special,” said Lisa. “Chappell is a good community that has a lot of potential.”

Brandon is self-employed as a farmer and also works in ag product sales for Hixon Ag, LLC; Lisa is a teacher at South Platte School in Big Springs, Nebraska. On top of these jobs, the couple decided to take on a new venture: They wanted to open a coffee shop in Chappell to add to the uniqueness of the town.

“Although we do not physically work at the coffee shop ourselves because we have hired some great baristas, we do work hard behind the scenes to ensure they and the store have what’s needed to run smoothly and meet the needs of the community,” Brandon said.

Lisa said getting their business going ended up costing more than they expected. So, after hearing Center for Rural Affairs Loan Specialist Anthony Gurrola talk about the Center’s Express Loans at a Chappell Chamber of Commerce meeting, the couple applied to receive help with their expenses.

Express Loans are designed for new and returning borrowers with credit needs of $15,000 or less and are underwritten on a credit score and two personal bank statements allowing for fast decisions. The timeline for this financing offers prequalification in 24 hours and a final decision within three business days after applications and documents are complete.

With assistance from the Center, the Hixons opened Buffalo Creek Coffee in October 2020, and they’ve been very happy with the assistance they received.

“Working with the Center was refreshing,” said Lisa. “It was nice to be able to get financing to give us the cash flow we needed for expenses when we opened. Anthony was very helpful and answered our questions quickly and thoroughly. When we were approved for financing, he even drove the paperwork out to Big Springs for me to be able to sign the documents while at work.”

Anthony says working with the couple has been an easy, enjoyable process.

“The Hixons work hard and juggle many commitments, yet they still find ways to stay involved,” he said. “They are active with their local Chamber of Commerce, stay informed on changes and updates that impact their business, and continue to seek opportunities to expand their services. It's been nice to stay in touch and see the business the Center helped them start, and to hear about their goals for the future."

Brandon and Lisa started with two full-time employees and one part-time worker. Today, they have six part-time employees. 

At the coffee shop, they offer a variety of brewed favorites including espresso drinks, mochas, cappuccinos, lattes, and frappes. Customers can also buy smoothies, teas, lemonade, apple cider, hot cocoa, various other drinks, bakery goods, breakfast burritos, chocolates, and gelato to enjoy as well.

The owners are glad they turned to the Center when they needed extra financing, and they know the organization aims to help small businesses like theirs.

“The programs the Center has to offer are unique in that they actually meet the needs of small businesses,” said Brandon. “The application and approval process is fairly simple and the employees are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful through the whole process and afterward.”

To learn more about the Center’s Express Loans and to apply, visit cfra.org/express-loans.

At a glance

Buffalo Creek Coffee
Brandon and Lisa Hixon
657 Second St.
Chappell, Nebraska 69129
308.874.2409
Summer hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Winter hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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