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Conversations with Lindsay Duensing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay Duensing.

Hi Lindsay, 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?
My background is in fine dining and wine, which diverted into specialty coffee. After working in specialty coffee and visiting various cafes all over the country, I felt really inspired to open my own space that included all the elements you would experience when visiting a fine dining establishment but in an accessible and welcoming space. Specialty or “third wave” coffee has a reputation of being snooty and intimidating to your average person, and that just didn’t feel right. Craft & Common strives to break down that perception with warm and welcoming hospitality, high quality, hand-crafted drinks and food, and a modern and aesthetically pleasing environment.

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?
Owning a small business has many obstacles and involves long hours and sacrifice, especially at the beginning. Establishing clear expectations has always been really important to me, so for the first couple of years C & C was open, I was in the shop almost every day for the entire shift to demonstrate exactly how I wanted the operations to go. We are also always looking for ways to improve our offerings and systems, so the work is never over!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
At Craft & Common, we define ourselves as being “boldly unpretentious.” We specialize in creating an environment where all people are welcome, and we love it when those who visit have questions and feel comfortable expressing their curiosity! Our coffee is top-notch, and we feature roasters from across the country that we are super proud to serve. We feel we set ourselves apart by focusing on the customer and how they can have the best possible experience. Craft & Common is known for our craft coffee beverages, which are a trio of carefully balanced lattes that are meant to capture a special moment in time from my travels across the country with my husband, Brandon, who is C & C’s co-owner. We feel our ambiance, incredible hospitality, and memorable menu invoke that feeling of comfort and nostalgia in our guests as well. As the business has grown in popularity, we have established a wonderful base of regulars who really embody the spirit of Craft & Common, and these vibes continue to attract those who are creative, adventurous, and open-minded.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. When we have a new staff member, I love to make sure they understand that this is a space where we are incredibly honest and transparent and if a mistake is made, all we expect is they own up to it and learn from it. Always go with your gut and follow your intuition. Remain obsessed with your customer, not your competition. A lot of small businesses constantly compare themselves to their competitors, and while it is important to stay aware of industry trends, listening to those who are already loyal to you and your vision will be much more beneficial.

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