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Karen & Kevin Push

Franchisees of Bad Ass Coffee Co.

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This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It all started after a chance encounter with a little coffee shop with big dreams and a spunky name. In 1994, Bad Ass Coffee Co. in Kona, Hawaii, caught the eye of Karen Push's husband, Kevin, as he strolled through town. Amused by the name, he went in. Five days later, the Pushes bought the location as licensees. With Kevin, 46, taking care of the books and Karen, 52, behind the counter, they eventually became the company's first franchisees.

Karen attributes the chain's success to its name, which honors the donkeys that hauled loads of coffee beans along Kona's mountains, the only place in America that grows coffee. "It's what makes us who we are," she says. "We're Bad Ass, as opposed to something boring like Karen's Coffee."

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