For entrepreneur Hailey Rogers, owning a coffee shop is as much about creating an environment that encourages interpersonal connections as it is about being the best local small batch roaster serving the finest varieties of specialty/gourmet coffees. “I was inspired to open a coffee shop because of how the coffee shop environment brings people together. I wanted to have a neutral space where anyone and everyone could feel welcome.”  At the Coffee Hound on South Mason Street near East Market Street in Harrisonburg, not only will you feel seen and welcomed, but so will your leashed and well-behaved canine pal. The dog-friendly space is a nod to Rogers own love for dogs and another way to make customers feel at home.

The road to small business ownership was a whirlwind for the Harrisonburg native, who took over what was formerly Shenandoah Joe in November 2021. When Rogers, who had been working as the Shenandoah Joe’s manager for several years, was unexpectedly offered the opportunity to purchase the café, she knew it was a path to fulfilling her dream of becoming her own boss. But Rogers quickly experienced the obstacles that many aspiring young entrepreneurs find daunting. The most challenging was securing adequate, immediate funding to make business ownership even possible.

That’s where working with the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center has helped her take the necessary steps to make it all come together. While a high-interest personal loan got Rogers in the door, becoming an SBDC client has helped her work out the kinks of business development. She began consulting with Business Advisor Allison Dugan to form a business plan needed to apply for a loan through City of Harrisonburg Economic Development. “Allison Dugan provided me with every necessary document I needed to complete my loan application. I found the cash flow projections she provided and helped me fill out to be extremely helpful.” Rogers also credits Peirce Macgill, Assistant Director at City of Harrisonburg Economic Development, for his invaluable assistance in getting the loan.

For Rogers, who emphasizes the personal touch as part of her business philosophy, finding an individualized connection with her business advisor was a definite plus. “Allison was always professional and able to answer any questions I had. She worked with my schedule to find me to meet with me via Zoom and give necessary feedback on my work. Her dedication to my success was apparent throughout every conversation we had.” She goes on to recommend that other small business owners take advantage of the one-on-one counseling available through the SBDC: “Having an advisor right there with me to give input while I worked through what my business needed was crucial to my success.”

In a world where friendly customer service has become a rare experience, finding a welcoming place to get top-notch beverages AND a warm atmosphere where you can sit and enjoy it, is a winning combination. Along Hailey Rogers’ entrepreneurial journey, we predict there will be lots more 5-star reviews like this:

Keeping up with Coffee Hound

Harrisonburg’s dog friendly coffee shop 🐕.
Hours: Mon to Sat 7am to 5pm. Sun 8am to 5pm

64 S Mason St Suite 100, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
(540) 574-4563

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What can working with an SBDC business advisor do for your long-term financial goals and business development?  Contact Us for more information!