Customers of FNBO – Hardy Coffee Co.
We’re proud to feature Hardy Coffee Co. in Omaha, Nebraska. The business began in 2010, when owner Autumn Pruitt and her husband, Luke, moved back to their hometown of Omaha and opened a small bakery.
“In those early years, we subleased a kitchen and tiny storefront from Aromas Coffeehouse on the corner of 11th and Jones streets,” Pruitt said. “A year and a half later, we purchased the coffee shop.”
Since then, the Pruitts opened three additional locations. And when they began roasting their own coffee in 2015, Hardy Coffee Co. was born – a nod to Autumn’s maiden name.
For Pruitt, starting her own business as a female CEO came with plenty of challenges and hard work.
“In the first several years of my business, I was really heads down,” Pruitt said. “Starting a business is really hard. Leadership is really hard, full stop.
“I often felt very alone in the decisions I made and work I did as CEO. It wasn’t until I started connecting with other women in similar roles that some of that anxiety lifted. These women had good advice, but most of the time it was simply spending time together and knowing we were solving similar problems.”
That sense of community and connection is something that Pruitt wants to replicate within the walls of Hardy Coffee Co.
“In my experience, there is simply no more authentic way to bring people together than around great food,” Pruitt said. “This industry matters for so many reasons but serving and connecting with people is the best part of it. And it’s our job to create the kind of products and encounters and spaces that people will be attracted to.”
Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, Pruitt was determined to maintain the Hardy Coffee Co. locations as spaces for human connection in an increasingly isolated world.
“We had to update and adjust and rethink every piece of how we operated a brick-and-mortar business throughout the pandemic, but we were intentional to never lose sight of the purpose behind why we began,” Pruitt said. “There are fewer and fewer places in this world where we engage with strangers. This has been true for decades, but, understandably, especially for these past two years.
"But when you’re in a shared space, when you’re making small talk with your barista and borrowing a power cable from one table over, smiling at a cute baby, sharing change for the parking meter, eating a cinnamon roll that was made by hand — it reminds us of our humanity.”
This passion for connections is what led Hardy Coffee Co. to bank with FNBO.
“The first bank that handled my business checking account failed to show up in an emergency. My car was broken into, and several things were stolen, including my deposit bag with a change order and account information,” Pruitt recalled. “I called the bank several times the next day and there was just so little attention given to our predicament — they couldn't be bothered to even put a hold on the account until the day was almost over.
“In contrast, a business banker from FNBO was a regular customer of ours and had given me his card with the promise to do good work if we ever wanted to change banks.
“That same day I called him and made the switch, and the bank has been true to his promise ever since. Through loan applications, lines of credit, PPP portals and a fraudulent check debacle just this last year, FNBO has been a consistent and good partner to our small business every step of the way.”
Interested in experiencing FNBO’s dedicated service and personalized approach for yourself? Learn how FNBO supports businesses of all sizes.
The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.