Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christine Santos, Founder of Boarding Pass Coffee, located in Gainesville, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Boarding Pass Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster that allows you to travel through coffee. Each roast is named after an interesting travel destination from where the beans come from, and we roast the beans in small batches so they are always fresh. We showcase a variety of roast levels and flavor profiles but focus on beans from our family's award-winning coffee farm near Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Tell us about yourself

I love creating and seeing people appreciate it. I love when someone walks in and asks for a coffee with sugar and cream, but they taste our coffee and say they don't need cream or sugar. To me, that's the ultimate pride. I have a consulting and project management background. I always strive for excellence. In a corporate setting, accolades are given on a great presentation or spreadsheet. Of course, there is pride there, but not quite the same as someone calling my marketing "genius" (travel passports with visa stamps for each roast and postcards describing the destination and bean).

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When we started, my husband was working the coffee full-time, and I was working a corporate strategy job full-time while being as involved in Boarding Pass as possible and making sure our family of five's happiness and health didn't suffer. My biggest accomplishment was resigning from my position to focus on building on the momentum of Boarding Pass Coffee, all while our three daughters make straight A's and are involved in activities.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The never turning truly off.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you have a plan and keep your eye on the prize.
  2. Be flexible. I'm a perfectionist, but I have learned that focusing too much on making sure every detail isn't efficient or effective. Sometimes moving forward and refining as you go is a better approach.
  3. Ask for help. It's as simple as putting out the things you need, and the community around us has always been there to lend a hand and fill in our gaps.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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