Coffee, tradition, and entrepreneurship. What Hacienda San Pedro learned.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a collaboration from Grupo Guayacán, as part of its 25 Days of Giving campaign.
It’s hard to resist a hot, frothy, fragrant cup of coffee served at the perfect time. Coffee lovers will understand. Therefore, we may think that the business of serving coffee has assured success. But this is not necessarily the case.
Rebecca Atienza and Gabriela Fernández from Hacienda San Pedro know this, but they had to undergo great difficulties to truly understand it.
“Sometimes, we get carried away by the rush of our day-to-day and fail to look any further. But thanks to Guayacán’s workshops and mentors, we were able to see all the possibilities for growth,” they said.
Developing the ability to truly see the different options available stems from an evolution that Rebecca attributes to business education. This, according to the owner of the brand whose coffee shops have become one of the great favorites for coffee lovers, especially in the metropolitan area.
Hacienda San Pedro and its coffee shops have experienced significant growth in recent years. However, the aromatic coffee they serve, which attracts thousands of people, has a history dating back to the 19th century, when Emeterio Atienza, a Spanish teenager, arrived in the island. With his cunning and hard work, he became the foreman of one of the most prestigious coffee estates in Puerto Rico.
In 1931, he bought his own farm in the Coabey neighborhood, in Jayuya, and he named it Hacienda San Pedro. Today, his descendant, Roberto Atienza, honors the legacy of four generations dedicated to growing coffee, which is still hand-picked and made with the same care as their patriarch Emeterio once did.
Hacienda San Pedro offers tradition and quality — but in the world of business, this is not enough. This is why Guayacán has been offering business education for 25 years, to help entrepreneurs like Rebecca see what they need in order to develop a sustainable and executable value proposition.
“The program helps companies like ours to look at other opportunities. It helps us understand our business from another perspective,” said Atienza, adding that based on her experience, a business owner can be so involved in their project that it is difficult to see beyond the idea they have conceived. In other words, sometimes it is more difficult to see what we have right before our eyes.
Atienza recognizes that joining the business community through the Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA) is another aspect that has been decisive in promoting their development.
“It is especially important to connect with entrepreneurs, because you get to know a lot of people, which can be a starting point for new projects and a boost for expansion plans,” she said.
Nonetheless, there have been challenges. For the past few months, Hacienda San Pedro has struggled to stay afloat amid the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Atienza smiles and explains that “people can cut expenses on many things, but not on this. It’s hard to give up your morning coffee. That’s why people keep coming back to us.”
But this is not merely because they serve coffee. Along the way, they have learned to see the value of their business, and they have mapped out a route to maximize its potential.
Now they seek to consolidate their position in the market and give shape to the project they created when they participated in the GVA.
“One of the projects we introduced was to set up a roasting plant in a new space, so we’re in the process of identifying the location where we will develop this project,” said the entrepreneur with enthusiasm.
Although Hacienda San Pedro already completed its business workshops, Guayacán closely follows the development of their expansion plans and offers them mentoring in specific areas. Atienza is convinced that we must help Guayacán continue fulfilling their mission, which gives opportunities to hundreds of entrepreneurs who would otherwise be left behind.