Kreative Grounds Cafe is a place to grab a coffee and tasty treat while enjoying local art in McAllen, Texas. It’s also the long-awaited dream come true of Kris Karr and her daughter, Adrienne Gordon, Texas Coffee School Coffeepreneurs®.
Kris dreamed of owning a coffee shop and showcasing local art for three decades. Her idea began when she was an art student in Houston. But she moved back to the Valley as a single mother and couldn’t pursue that dream—for the time being. Instead, she worked at a furniture retailer for 26 years.
Last year, Kris decided it was time to turn that dream into a reality. She and Adrienne left their careers in marketing and art (Kris) and the restaurant industry (Adrienne) to use their skills in a new way. They began looking at locations and researching online, but quickly realized they needed a coffee education. That’s when they came to Texas Coffee School for the 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class in January of 2023. “I felt so ready after that class,” Kris says.
By August, Kreative Grounds Cafe was in business!
Ribbon cutting ceremony at Kreative Grounds Cafe.
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From Texas Coffee School to Opening a New Coffee Shop Business
The past few months have been a whirlwind for Kris and Adrienne. They found a building that used to be an insurance office and is built like a house. After returning from Texas Coffee School, Kris had the skills to negotiate her lease and rent price and begin remodeling. The building boasts an outdoor patio and mid-century modern style interior, complete with retro wallpaper and colorful chandeliers. Local art adorns the walls. And there’s a “flex room” that serves as the main gallery and can host meetings, art classes, and art parties. The first art exhibit features the work of Christopher Karr, a local artist and Kris’ nephew.
Kreative Grounds Cafe serves up a delicious coffee menu using homemade syrups and Cuvée Coffee beans. They also have a Starving Artist food menu, which serves items like the “O’Keeffe Oatmeal,” “Cézanne Chicken Salad Croissant,” and “Salvador Deli Panini.” And they sell pastries made by their own pastry chef plus offer bundt cakes and empanadas made by local vendors.
Kris is the coffee shop owner. She oversees operations and uses her marketing background to draw new customers. Adrienne is the general manager, with the critical tasks of hiring and training baristas and managing inventory.
“Opening our new business with my daughter has been an incredible journey,” Kris says. “Her passion and dedication have made this experience truly special. I feel blessed.”
Using Free Marketing Tactics to Bring in Customers
Their marketing efforts, driven by social media and a Google Business profile, have brought customers in the doors. They hosted a grand opening and a family & friends VIP event, both with a great turnout. Kris has gone door-to-door to meet some of the many business owners on their street. They’ve also welcomed neighbors who live in the neighborhood next to the coffee shop.
“100% recommend! The coffee was immaculate. I just told them to make me whatever and they totally hit the nail! Also you MUST try Enya’s pastries or you’re missing out!! Beautiful interior and amazing atmosphere! Will def come again!” says one Google reviewer, Cyan.
“Love it here! Coffee is so delicious also the Iced Chai Latte is my new favorite! The atmosphere and the service is wonderful. Go support local and try them out. The drive thru is a huge plus!” says another, Savanah.
Kris says the biggest challenge they faced was working with the city to get all their ducks in a row and be compliant. She had to learn to be patient and communicate with city officials. At the end of July this year, they got their certificate of occupancy.
“For people out there who are thinking about [coffee shop ownership], it’s very hard and scary,” she says. “But if you have a great support system around you, it motivates you to keep moving forward.”
Launch Your Own Coffee Shop Business With Texas Coffee School
Whether you’ve had a coffee shop dream for decades or just thought of it yesterday, you’re welcome at Texas Coffee School. We help aspiring entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of the coffee industry and opening a coffee business. Our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class can set you on the path to success, no matter where you’re starting in your journey.
View upcoming dates and register today!