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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Kent State student launches mobile dessert and coffee business

Audrey Ernst at the launch party of her business, Hometown Coffee & Pastry, on July 9, 2023.

Kent State senior Audrey Ernst launched her mobile coffee and dessert business to the public Sunday morning in her hometown of Zoar.

The business, Hometown Coffee & Pastry, is a catering service focused on serving private events, such as bridal showers and corporate events. The menu ranges from coffee and tea to an assortment of baked goods.

Ernst was first inspired to pursue a career in food service after discovering a love of baking in high school.

“I would just make pastries for local community things happening around my hometown and in my school,” she said. “I would go to a local farmers’ market and just sell different pastries that I was just able to make from my home.”

Starting the entrepreneurship program at Kent State is what ultimately pushed Ernst to open up her own business.

“Through being at Kent and specifically the entrepreneurship program, I learned that I actually kind of enjoyed the business side of things a little more than I do the food service side,” she said. “I love being able to figure out all the steps that it takes to create a successful business, and I have loved every step that it has taken for me to get to the point where I’m at now.”

Students in the entrepreneurship program are required to create their own businesses during their junior year at Kent and take classes in preparation for it.

According to Ernst, various research is required during these courses, including connecting with other entrepreneurs and former students.

“I was doing a bunch of research to write my business plan, and through that research, it’s a lot of reaching out to people and asking to interview them,” she said.

Through this process of interviewing other entrepreneurs, she was put in contact with a former Kent State student who ran a mobile coffee cart business when he was in the program. From the beginning, the business model was similar to ideas she had for hers.

“I just reached out to him, and we had a phone interview and I was just talking with him about all the different things that he feels like he did right, and what he felt he did wrong,” she said. ”Through that conversation, he brought up that he was no longer really operating it and was in the beginning stages of figuring out if he wanted to sell it.”

After talking about prices and goals for Ernst’s business, she purchased his cart and other tools he used for his business.

Ernst credits the entrepreneurship program for preparing her to open her business and offering the resources she needed to make connections with other business owners.

“I feel like I just have all these people that have done something similar, whether it’s been successful or it hasn’t, that are so willing to share their knowledge on what they learned, and it has really helped me understand different things that you’re never going to figure out until you do it,” she said.

Hometown Coffee & Pastry is expected to do pop-ups on the Kent campus in the coming school year, according to Ernst. She said she still has to go through restrictions in order to sell on campus, but has plans to work through it in the near future.

At the launch party, Ernst shared her hopes about the turnout at the event.

“I’m really optimistic about today,” she said. “I’m hoping that the products are received well and that everybody just enjoys their time on a really nice day.”

Kayla Gleason is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kayla Gleason, Reporter
Kayla is a sophomore journalism major. She enjoys writing about the current events happening around campus.
Contact her at [email protected]

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