Franchising in Paradise

With a thriving Bad Ass Coffee franchise and a great view of the beach, Karen Push leads a wonderful life.

By Stephanie Soong

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Imagine an immaculate white, sandy beach, with pristine blue waves quietly lapping at shore, and palm trees swaying gently in the cool ocean breeze. In the distance, playful dolphins jump and flip, and sailboats glide toward the horizon, cutting through the limpid waters against a brilliant backdrop of a vermilion Hawaiian sunrise. The faint scent of coffee tickles your nose as you watch the island slowly come to life.

Now, imagine working there every day of the year.

Welcome to Karen Push's world. As the co-owner of the first Bad Ass Coffee Company franchise in Kona, Hawaii, her day typically starts out when the shop opens for business at 8 a.m. After preparing the native Kona-grown coffee for sale, the tempting aroma begins to draw in customers looking for a jumpstart on the day.

Though she prepares the coffee for her customers, Push is known for stepping out from behind the counter to socialize with old friends, and new ones as well. "I greet my customers and the regulars who come in, and we have a little coffee clutch outside where we talk about world affairs and things like that," says Push. From her interaction with many coffee lovers who visit her shop, she has become a familiar face in the community. "We've formed friendships with some of the townsfolk beyond just having coffee in the morning. It's pretty nice."

Since Kona is a hot spot for tourists, Push and her staff often meet new and interesting people who are just passing through. "Right now, we have cruise ships coming in, and it's fun talking with different folks. It's a great way to meet people from around the world," says Push.

Her store is ideal for lounging with a cup of coffee, since its near the water. Customers often linger in the common area outside the shop, where they can catch a glimpse of a little cove frequented by sea turtles and other marine creatures. "During the winter, you can see whales jumping and dolphins spinning too," says Push. "It's nice and shady. I really think I have the most beautiful spot in town."

Although she would have liked the store to be out on the main street in order to attract more customers, she has very little to complain about. Her day ends at 3 p.m., when she leaves the store to her trusted employees. With a beautiful view, wonderful customers and a great product, life is pretty down-to-earth for Push. "It's an OK business," she says humbly. "There are worse places I could be."

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