Find out why owning a coffee shop in Humboldt, Iowa has been a good fit for Jill and her family.
Interview with Jill
● Where are you located? Tell me a bit about your journey owning a brick and mortar
I have owned the Caribbean Coffeeshop for over eight years now. I purchased the business from Beth D. and just relocated to a new building in January of 2023. I was not looking for a small business to buy when Beth approached me about buying it, but after lots of family discussions and prayer, we decided it was a great opportunity for this season in our lives, so we went for it, and haven’t looked back since!
● What does your family look like? Humans and not.
I am married to Kyle Soenen and we have two children. Our daughter, Kayden (21) lives in Humboldt with her husband, Davion, and their 2 1⁄2 year old son Creed. Our Son, Carter (18) lives in Humboldt as well.
● Iowa State Cyclones or Iowa Hawkeyes? (Or favorite team?)
We are a bit of a family divided…..I am a Husker fan….(don’t hate!!), my husband is an Iowa fan. Our kids are a bit divided as well…..Kayden is on her dad’s side, and Carter is on my side.
● What made you decide to start this business?
As mentioned above, Beth gave me the opportunity to own this particular business, but entrepreneurship has always been in my blood. My father has owned his construction business my whole life, and all three of my sisters own their own businesses as well. This is my 3rd small business I have owned. I have always loved the creativity of owning a restaurant, and the interaction with customers is something I deeply enjoy as well.
● Why has this been a good fit for you?
Well, who doesn’t love a coffeeshop vibe?!? It is great hours, hardly ever a tough customer to work with, and creativity is always being challenged!
● If you could choose one treat what would it be?
● What have been some struggles with starting this business?
I was so fortunate to be able to buy an already existing business, so the struggles were much smaller than starting out from scratch. So because of that, my biggest struggles were needing to purchase unforeseen new equipment shortly after purchasing the business, and then finding the perfect new location for growth. BUT we found it, and LOVE IT!!
● What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
Having the ability to expand into our new location and being able to create it and make it my own!
● Beach or mountain? Why?
Beach. Because…..water!!! Peaceful, water!!
● How do you do what you do with your business? How does it work?
I think staying in tune to what customers enjoy and appreciate is always where you have to start. Secondly, figuring out what is feasible and cost effective for both myself and the consumer is so important. Trial and error is how that works!!
● What hasn’t worked?
The only thing that comes to mind that hasn’t worked out was the wine bar. When I first purchased the business, we purchased the wine bar with it. After about a year, the coffee side of the business was growing so much that we couldn’t dedicate enough time to both sides to make it make sense. The income was great, but I am not a fan of doing something solely for the financial gain, and I couldn’t make both sides work to the best of my abilities, so something had to give!!
● What else are you doing that is awesome?
Tough question….bragging on myself is not easy for me. I’m just trying to be the best version of myself that I can be for myself and my family!!
● What have you learned now that you didn’t know before?
Learning never stops!
● Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Just basically being a grandma to THE BEST grandson ever! 🙂 Creed James is our pride and joy and fills our time with his love and laughter! I couldn’t imagine living away from my little buddy!! 🙂
● What piece of advice would you give to yourself when you started this business?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and shoot for the stars! Anything is possible!!
● What is the next thing you are wanting to pursue?
I can’t tell my secrets!! 🙂
● Favorite thing to make for dinner?
Listen, I cook for people all day and do dishes along with that….I like to eat anything that I don’t have to cook for supper!! Good thing Kyle is a good cook and enjoys it even after we get home!!
● What is something unique about The Caribbean?
We are unique in many ways, but for coffee, what stands out is the amount of flavoring options we have and what we use for our mochas. We don’t use the typical ingredients and offer an unusually large variety of flavors to create whatever the customer wants! And for our food menu….we offer more options than the average coffeeshop, and all of our sauces are made from scratch, along with our ever popular soup menu! We make our soups from scratch and fresh daily!
● How do we find out more about you? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy. Give me
all of the ways to see your business/products!
Our Facebook page is Caribbean Coffeehouse
Our website is: caribbeancoffeehouse.com
Our phone number is 515-332-JAVA (5282)