... but brewing a masterful cup of coffee also helps.
Every year, we pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country as members of the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning behind selfless service and recount countless stories of bravery and honor in duty to our Country.
Texas Innovators spotlights the ingenuity and innovation that propels the Lone Star State. This Veterans Day and throughout the month of November, TXi will feature innovative service members and veteran-owned businesses driving Texas into the future.
San Antonio's Best Veteran-Owned Coffee
TXi caught up with San Antonio-based QuickDraw Coffee founders and owners, James and Kristin DuBois to tell us about what’s behind running a successful small business in the Alamo City. James took the time to chat with us to share a bit about his love of coffee, the tenets for running a small business, and how his experience in the Air Force shaped his outlook on success.
As a small business owner, what is your guiding philosophy? And did your experience in the military shape this philosophy, if at all?
Quality! Simply that. My philosophy is to provide every single patron with the highest quality coffee of their choice. I take pride in that, and it all lies in the small details. I want every customer to know that I put my love for quality coffee in every cup I make. The military absolutely had something to do with sharpening my attention to detail. Being in the Air Force also helped shape my ability to perform efficiently. I have been able to translate these things into starting and operating my coffee business.
Could you share your motivation for opening QuickDraw Coffee?
Around 2010 before food trucks/trailers were very popular here in San Antonio I told my wife that I’d love to open a coffee truck. Initially, my idea was a box truck of some sort. However, she was uncomfortable with the idea because of the uncertainty and us having a family to provide for. At the time we had just moved and already had a lot on our plates. Fast forward to 2018, I was out riding bikes with my good friend Marco of Mila Coffee. I shared my vision with him and he encouraged me to go for it. Marco graciously provided me with some advice along the way.
Launching a business is no easy task. What was the biggest hurdle you faced when you first opened your small business?
Besides taking the first step and committing to follow through, I think the biggest hurdles are all the permits, licensing, fees, and taxes that small businesses pay. Coming up with the funds was very difficult, especially when first starting out.
A Community Around Coffee
Amid the pandemic, how have you had to pivot your business strategy?
The first few months of the shutdown were difficult, but then people slowly started coming out while they were stuck at home. We began seeing that people wanted a safe space to distance themselves outdoors in order to see loved ones and have coffee. People would bring their own chairs and sit across the parking lot just to see family/friends and conversate. We also made sure we provided an atmosphere where people felt safe buying coffee from us. We noticed people were getting out later in the mornings, so we adjusted our hours and that allowed people to come by a little later. We began opening a little later in the day as a result. It was actually very neat to see how our coffee trailer was not only able to provide coffee, but also provide a way for people to get outdoors and de-stress a bit.
The coffee business can be competitive, what keeps your business thriving?
I don’t really feel like I’m in competition with anyone. I love to support all the small coffee shops as much as I can. I feel like the coffee industry in San Antonio is very supportive of each other as businesses overall. Seeing our customers happy with their drinks makes this entire process worth it.