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Daily Inspiration: Meet Nikole Ammer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikole Ammer.

Hi Nikole, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
In 2001, I moved to Kansas City at the age of 21, I was transferred by my job (a vacation club) to open an office and run it. I made the decision to take the promotion to make money to start my own coffee shop. In 2003, I had the opportunity to purchase a coffee shop that had been open for seven years and was on the brink of closing. I learned a lot in the three years that I owned the shop with my business partner. My business partner and I split ways and I went on to manage a kitchen. During that time, I was able to learn a lot with catering and very large orders. I also worked at a coffee shop on the side because it was my passion. This coffee shop was and is the oldest local coffee roaster in Kansas City and I wanted to learn how to roast coffee. This is the coffee shop that I now own.

After working and roasting for four years, I began to plan on moving to the east coast to see what awaits. I gave City Market Coffee a six months notice of my departure. Three months before leaving, I was approached by the owner asking me to purchase City Market Coffee. I had built up so much trust that he kindly offered the business to me with owner finance. I did not have any money saved, so I crossed my fingers and used my personal paycheck for the first month of rent. I began to remodel slowly and I began to expand the menu. After a couple of years of owning City Market Coffee, I had grown the business over 200%. I paid off the business 1.5 years early, designed and bought a new espresso machine and invested over 100K into improvements including more equipment for menu expansion. I have now owned City Market Coffee for nine years, I have worked here for 13 years. This year City Market Coffee will be open for 25 years in August.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wouldn’t ever say that owning a business is a smooth road. Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have amazing customers and employees that love City Market Coffee. I think the biggest struggle for me is creating a good work-life balance. After years of working nearly 80 hours a week, I have been able to get closer to 40.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am very involved as an owner. I am the Master Roaster, we are small-batch and roast only 6 pounds at a time. We roast over 3,000 pounds a month and stay very busy. I also am overall operational aspects such as monthly paperwork, taxes, payroll, ordering and training. Three or more days a week I work behind the bar making all products and prep work.

During the pandemic, we adopted a saying, “We are not a coffee house, we are a coffee home”.

I think of us as old school, we are a place that feels like home. We are a place that learns your name, order and life story. We are a place that builds community, makes connections and builds up humans. We put love and care into everything we do. We have character and charm. Because we are so humble, we are still somewhat of a secret hidden gem.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
The Bates family can not have enough good things said about them. They have always supported me and held me up high. Without them, I would not be where I am. I have had many customers along my journey share so much kindness and support throughout time. I don’t think it would be fair to list any because they all are so very important.

I would give a lot of credit to my life partner that helps me run the business, who is a great leader and deals with me taking work home at times.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos taken by Morgan Miller Photography

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