Coffee business creates positive buzz

Meg-A-Latte owner Megan Wold, left, and general manager Alexandria Johnson, right, have been working together for several years, leading their teams to success and expanding the business.

Last November, Megan Wold opened her fifth Meg-A-Latte location in Minot. Her business has been seeing a lot of success, and she is waiting until she has the right feeling about a place to expand again.

Wold attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, and she managed Moxie Java at the same time. While working there, she fell in love with coffee in general, along with the impact that a coffee shop can have on a community.

“I also fell in love with how I had relationships with my customers and I just was excited to go to work every day,” Wold said.

At that point in her life, she did not think that having her own coffee shop was what she would do for a living.

It was after she and her husband moved back to Williston and her first child was born that she decided she wanted to be her own boss and have the ability to still live her life the way she wanted. When it came to choosing the type of business she would open, she had it narrowed to two options: a coffeehouse or a daycare.

Minot Meg-A-Latte store manager Raegan Strouth stands in the Minot store. She moved to Minot from Williston to oversee the store when it opened in November.

Upon asking her husband for his opinion on the matter, he told her that having a coffeehouse would be the better choice. She already had a basic grasp of how to run a coffeehouse from her experience working at Moxie Java, giving her a starting point.

It was also at the start of the oil boom, and Williston did not have any sit-down coffee shops. Wold wanted to change that.

“It was really what Williston needed for our community – to have a place to gather,” she said. “There were so many people coming through town and they didn’t have a house. They didn’t have a living room to sit in, and so creating a vibe like a living room was really nice.”

She eventually opened three Meg-A-Latte shops in Williston. Over the past 10 years, Wold had thought about branching out to surrounding towns to “offer what [they] offer in different communities.” She took action in 2021 after receiving a call from an insurance agent about an opportunity with a building becoming available in Watford City.

For about seven years, Meg-A-Latte has had a booth set up at the North Dakota State Fair in the summer. Participating in such a large event helped her create a customer base in Minot and the surrounding area. Several people who ordered from Wold asked her when or if she would have a location in Minot so they could enjoy it all year round.

The Minot location opened on North Hill, which Wold said some business people might not recommend, as the North Hill area is vastly residential. In service to the community, she decided to move forward with the acquisition of the space and renovations.

Upon opening the store, it was “crazy busy.” Several people lined up inside and at the drive-through. After the initial newness wore off, things tapered off. Once the store added DoorDash to the mix, business picked up for the local shop. The store also added online ordering for pickup and delivery, which helped boost the business even more.

Despite the rushes and insanely busy days, store manager Raegan Strouth and her team have a good handle on things.

“We’re a very tight-knit group, and I feel like if someone does start to get overwhelmed, we always have someone who’s willing to say, ‘Hey, this is going to be okay,'” Strouth said. “I think we have an awesome team and we just kind of push through, I feel like, more than anything. We don’t really get nervous and stressed out about the picking up of business and everything, so we get excited for the new challenges that come with it.”

All five of the Meg-A-Latte locations are in much different spaces, so no two look exactly the same. Each one has its own “flow” and decor, but the homey feeling is still there.

Among all the locations, Meg-A-Latte now has 108 employees.

The food menus at each location vary as well. Two of the coffeehouses are not big enough to be equipped with the proper tools for food items, so they serve a limited menu.

However, the drinks that can be made at one location can be made at any of them.

Each location has its own store manager, and Strouth has been with the company for about four-and-a-half years, starting at the original location in Williston.

Strouth had told Wold that she was interested in taking the store manager position in Minot. During the State Fair in 2023, Strouth had come to Minot with Wold and they checked out a potential store location together.

General Manager Alexandria Johnson oversees all of the stores. She travels to the different locations often to ensure they have the products they need to serve the communities and things are running smoothly. When weather may not permit it or a shop manager has an urgent concern, she also spends a good amount of time on the phone.

She said her most important goal is to ultimately give her shop managers the tools they need to succeed, but she also is not afraid to be the backbone for the team and lead them in the direction they want to go.

“The biggest thing that I’ve always put as a priority is just making sure that I’m available for any type of resource that any shop manager might need, no matter what city they’re in,” Johnson said.

At least once every quarter, the store managers gather to discuss how business is going, bounce ideas off each other and develop bonding experiences for the teams. During the meetings, the floor is open to all to share anything that may be weighing on them, and they can receive the support they need.

As of the end of February, Wold did not have firm plans to open another location. Rather, she prefers to select her spaces by feeling. She would like to continue expanding and sharing her love of coffee with others, but the time is not yet right.

“[Wold] has always been about community, whether that means her employees or customers,” Johnson said. “She’s always wanted to make sure that she was in a community that she could impact positively.”


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