THE JOY OF TURNING SOMETHING YOU LOVE INTO A BUSINESS
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY A BE IN BAKERSFIELD AMBASSADOR, THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN BAKERSFIELD LIFE MAGAZINE. ALL BAKERSFIELD LIFE STORIES CONTRIBUTED BY THE BE IN BAKERSFIELD TEAM ARE WRITTEN WITH THE GOAL TO SHARE WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT BAKERSFIELD, EXCITE RESIDENTS AND BRING MORE LIKE-MINDED FOLKS TO OUR TOWN.
READ AND ENJOY!
By Isaac Dennis
Isaac and his wife, Shannon, opened the Rig City coffee shop in the spring of 2018. They love Bakersfield, being involved in the community + of course, really good coffee.
I wanted to start my own business well before I moved to Bakersfield in 2010. Last year, my wife, Shannon, and I opened Rig City in Downtown Bakersfield, and it’s been the best decision. We love coffee, and having a shop is a way to be around coffee all day and share it with our friends and neighbors. We’ve been roasting our own beans for years, and we knew the best way for customers to experience our coffee was to open our own place — ensuring they were enjoying the coffee as it was intended.
This wasn’t a feat that happened overnight. I was an apprentice for a small coffee roaster when we lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. A few years into that journey, I discovered two things about myself: I love making coffee, and I want a coffee shop to call my own. Once I moved to Bakersfield, I worked for a local coffee roaster and eventually branched out on my own by sourcing and roasting my own beans. Without a shop, I had to be a bit more creative in how I got my coffee to my customers, so I started selling at farmers’ markets. It’s been a great way to share our products, expand our customer base and really get to know what people want in their cup of joe. The demand for our coffee grew rapidly each weekend. Our community has been so supportive over the years in welcoming a new coffee option. They encouraged us to open a brick and mortar shop. We wouldn’t have seen this type of support in any place other than Bakersfield.
Opening a coffee shop was not just about the coffee. I have a natural entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy being my own boss, and I like the creative freedom to tweak or change things based on what the consumer wants. I like being innovative, finding ways to implement those new ideas in what we're doing already and offering customers a unique and high-quality product.
Opening Rig City downtown seemed like an ideal and obvious choice for us. The central location offers great access for customers from all over town, and the community of downtown businesses and residents is very close. We cheer each other on. We enjoy being involved in the community by sharing life with our neighbors — whether they be just down the street or several blocks away. We think there is something for everyone downtown, and we want customers and visitors to feel welcome and enjoy themselves. The downtown area is great for pedestrians. Customers can grab not only a cup of coffee downtown, but they can also go shopping, grab lunch, catch a show, take a class or just people watch.
It’s the community that makes this town so great — the blend of home-grown residents with transplants helps bring in new ideas while preserving our history and identity. Bakersfield has that small-town feel, but it’s also an emerging city in California. The people here have a large variety of ideas and a shared desire to make Bakersfield better. For us, that means being involved in causes that can improve our city. We recently partnered with the Valley Fever Americas Foundation to help fund research.
My hope for Bakersfield is to continue to grow in population and influence.