Alumni brings coffee to hometown

The following is a Q&A with Kirkwood Community College Alumni Hope Carson (class of 2019). She and her husband, Jordan, co-own Recharge Coffee Company in Van Horne. 

How did you choose to go to Kirkwood and what was your major?  My major was, or it started out as, business administration management but then I kind of doubled and did marketing, too, because a lot of those classes were kind of the same so it worked out for me. But I went to Kirkwood because it was so close to where I grew up here in Van Horne. 

So why a coffee company? What was your inspiration to go in this direction? During college I was working at a coffee shop called Dash Coffee Roasters in Cedar Rapids. Before then I already knew I wanted to be a business owner someday, I just wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to take that in. 

I already loved coffee but after working at Dash and learning how much more there was to the coffee industry, I decided I wanted to open my own shop someday. That’s where I learned everything and that’s what made me really want to open up my own shop. It made me fall in love with coffee. 

What made you decide on your current location? Van Horne is my hometown. I grew up here and we are now raising our family here, too. Before we opened Recharge, we would always say how nice it would be to have someplace local to get breakfast and coffee at on a Saturday morning. 

When we opened Recharge, our goal was to bring good coffee to Van Horne. To provide a way for our community to have that big city cafe quality, without having to drive to the city.  

Where do your ideas or inspirations on what you serve come from? We do a lot of the same stuff but when it comes to specials like our Valentine’s menu I scroll through Pinterest and then I get ideas and I put things together and it’s been a lot of trial and error, too. 

We have added a lot more sweeter drinks because I’ve noticed that people around for this area like it sweeter. When it comes to the pastries and food then that’s Jordan’s expertise- he’s the food guy and things are made from scratch.   

Have you ever thought about expanding and opening another place, what’s in the future for Recharge? I don’t know if we would ever open up a second place but our growth ideas are a coffee food truck once we can so that kind of feeds into what he wanted also. And we want to be able to take a truck to music festivals and things like that. 

If you were to return to Kirkwood and talk to a marketing class, what advice would you give them? I would say for me it was a lot of just constantly not giving up on your dream. I did a lot of business plans and just like writing notes in notebooks and never giving up on it. 

So I’m always thinking about it and writing down ideas. That’s a lot of what I did while I was still working, I was just like business plan, business plan, trying to figure out for when we do finally do this. 

Never give up. I know that’s always said but it’s so true. 

Image courtesy of Jeff Sigmund | Kirkwood Communiqué