Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brian Jackson

5 mins read

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Check out their coffee shop supply website at baristaparty.com.

Fun Fact
Coffee is the world’s 2nd largest trading commodity, falling only behind crude oil.

Did You Know?
Mighty Missouri Coffee Company also hosts the BISMAN Triathlon every year at McDowell Dam, which are the High School and Age Group State Championships for USA Triathlon!

Brian Jackson – Owner, Mighty Missouri Coffee Company

Brian Jackson, Owner of Mighty Missouri Coffee Company, prides himself on producing incredible coffee and cultivating positive, life-affirming customer interactions that fuel their adventure. Having been in business for over ten years, Jackson’s place in the community as a coffee roasting company and cafe has become a Bismarck-Mandan staple.

What was your journey like for you to get to the position you’re at today?

I am a creative at heart and was involved in a handful of marketing things, from college to my career. A product of that experience was to build my own brand. I didn’t know coffee well but I knew people who did. When I began to learn the intricacies of coffee, I fell in love with it and took classes, job shadowed people, and got a job as a barista. Mighty Missouri quickly became more than a parttime endeavor and I was making decisions to be “all-in” or just pass on a growing opportunity it turned out I was really excited for.

Over the years, I’ve added people and locations, making big and scary (to me) gambles and stepping out, trusting God and jumping. Ten years ago, I could have called that naivete. Today, I am willing to call it good practice. The journey has been a wild one, from the opening of a storefront coffee shop in 2016 to the pandemic in 2020. I’m surrounded by good people who’ve only encouraged me on the way, and I’m excited to say that the future looks even brighter.

Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever?

I think building a manufacturing business from nothing was a heavier lift than I anticipated. I’m not sure I’ve done it particularly well all the time, but through meeting every day’s challenges, I’ve been able to see this company slowly grow and take shape. It’s incredibly rewarding to look back and see just how far we’ve come. I will never get tired of thinking of the people who were with me at the beginning, and all of the incredible people I’ve met on the way.

What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start your own business?

I think the hardest part was how little I knew about everything. I began with what I thought were some good ideas about business. But pretty much immediately, I would say my confidence was depleted as I learned just how hard (and treacherous) the path of an entrepreneur could be. The last decade has been about slowly finding our way. Our team has built something important over time and we are all looking forward because we know that we deserve to be here, and the future is bright.

What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business?

I was alone with no employees, a part-time job and multiple freelance projects trying to make ends meet. When things started it was slow. I was working my tail off to get things off the ground, all while worrying Mighty Missouri was the biggest mistake of my life. I would make sales calls, roast coffee, grind, package, and deliver everything.

I was even fulfilling all of the orders to grocery stores in the region, waiting in line in my little Ford Escape behind semi-trailers unloading pallets of food… just me and my little box of five bags of coffee, waiting patiently to scan in and load them onto the shelves. I am thankful for those memories.

What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now?

Early on, I was told two main things: To make three business-building calls every morning before I started the rest of my day, and to write down all of God’s blessings on my business because I wouldn’t remember it all looking back. I wouldn’t say I did these perfectly, but they built a foundation and a growth mindset that has continued to this day.

What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap?

You’ll never know everything you need to know to make it a success — that only comes from doing. Most startups fail, but I think you need to do a lot of searching inside to make sure this is your dream and not somebody else’s. With a little faith, you can test the waters of your new business. If it’s a really good direction, things will fall into place from that point (and you won’t have to lose your day job in the process… yet). Never be afraid to bet on yourself, because you can make it work if you have to.

What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk?

We’re entering our tenth year of Mighty Missouri Coffee. Over the last ten years, not only have I seen a business grow from conception to market, but I’ve also seen meaningful relationships come and go, illness in the family, failed partnerships and dissolved agreements. It’s a trip, but I believe it’s all for a reason. I’ve grown immensely through the experience (what an education!) and if I can ever use the hard-fought platform of Mighty Missouri to make a difference, then it’s gone completely full circle, and roasting and serving coffee has been an amazing avenue to help people.

What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business?

“Another Day, Another Adventure” is stamped on every bag of Mighty Missouri Coffee. I knew when I began that I wanted to reflect the spirit of adventure I’ve found on the Northern Plains, specifically on the Missouri River system. I grew up in Hazen, ND and found my adventures at Lake Sakakawea, and I’ve found so much more over the years. Bismarck-Mandan is at the heart of my recreation, and I’d rather have my business here than anywhere else in the world. The people are great, too.

What do most people not know about your company?

We’ve had the pleasure of serving coffee at the Bismarck YMCA through our coffee shop for the past few years, but the brand goes quite a bit deeper than the coffee shop. We are roasting coffee, packaging and distributing from our offices in northeast Bismarck, bringing coffee to grocery stores in a five-state region. We provide coffee for coffee shops throughout the region, provide syrups, sauces, alternative kinds of milk, and even provide espresso machines and equipment to help others with their coffee shops.

What is something you wish more people knew about your company?

Mighty Missouri Coffee Company produces incredible coffee and cultivates positive, life-affirming customer experiences to fuel your incredible adventure—that’s our mission statement and it starts with coffee but ends with people, and that’s the heart of who we are. I hope people give our coffee a try and visit us at our storefront coffee shop because that’s the heart of our whole staff.

What is a day in your life like for you now?

I spend most of my time at our roasting studio, with three other full-time employees. Together, we are moving through a couple of thousand pounds of coffee every week. Adding employees hasn’t necessarily given me more free time, but it has just changed how my position works. Angela Turner runs our coffee shop, and she’s done a great job of building a team that I am incredibly proud of.

What’s one thing the local business community could do to help Mighty Missouri Coffee?

Well, I’ll tell them that we would love to provide freshly roasted coffee for their organization. I think better coffee = better productivity? That’s a start! And, like all local businesses, we thrive on word of mouth.

(701) 251-0785
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