Holly Gifford

Familiar Golden coffee spot thriving under new ownership

It's not easy to take a well-established local business and make it your own, but Bean Bag owner Holly Gifford is doing just that.

It’s not easy to take a well-established local business and make it your own, but Bean Bag Coffee Roasters owner Holly Gifford is putting her stamp on the Golden coffee shop.

On May 1 it will be one year since the 31-year-old bought the business, an ambitious undertaking for a young entrepreneur.

“Buying something was always in the back of my mind,” said Gifford, who has an extensive background in business education. “Nothing was really jumping out at me. I had just googled what was available for businesses in Golden, and I saw this ad for Bean Bag that was posted in 2008. So I called Patty up and asked if it was still for sale.”

It may seem like an impulsive decision, but Gifford did not jump in blindly. Before signing off on the purchase,she got as much background info as she could out of the previous owners, and even went to Vancouver to take a specialized business course for opening a coffee shop.

“Part of it was learning how to be a barista, and the other part was about opening up a coffee shop. It gave me a lot of really good information.”

Nothing, however, can really prepare you for what it’s like to run your own business. Anything can go wrong, and it’s up to you to figure it out.

“Last week our brewer stopped working, that was very stressful. Trying to find a solution, how do I serve coffee in a coffee shop without a brewer? I ended up standing up over top and hand pouring them for a couple days. We got it working eventually,” said Gifford, smiling at the recollection.

“I actually shorted out the roaster once as well. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I just broke the thing that makes me money. What am I going to do?’ But we got it fixed pretty quick.”

She is certainly able to laugh the incidents off now. And after nearly a year of being in charge she can say that she is comfortable in the position, and knows what needs to be done. The biggest factor, however, is definitely the customers.

“I feel like it’s a good learning experience. And the customers here are so awesome and so nice. When we do make mistakes they’re quick to say, ‘don’t worry about it.’ It’s been really great.”

That’s not to say that it doesn’t take hard work to keep a business going in a small town, even one that has been run successfully for years. Gifford credits her team of staff for keeping everything running smoothly, but she has been putting in some pretty long hours herself. She tries to take the mornings for herself, but she spends the rest of the day in the shop, and often the evenings roasting the beans.

“It’s definitely worth it though. I love having this place, and the staff and customers I get to see,” said Gifford.

“And I love it here. Golden is definitely my forever home, I love this town. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”