Doing Things the Right Way – Air Force Veterans Build a Business

Montana - Electric City CoffeeSuccess Story: Montana

“The one thing that came out of our work with the Great Falls SBDC was our logo branding. We never even considered branding. Now, we’re renting cars and buying billboards with a simple, highly recognizable indication of who we are.” – Thad Reiste, co-owner of Electric City Coffee

After retiring from the Air Force, Thad and Heidi chose to return to Great Falls, Montana, go to work for an existing business, learn from the ground up and then buy it. They purchased The Daily Grind (recipes and equipment), relocated it, rebranded and made their shop more than just a coffee shop. They created a food experience.

Thad and Heidi came to the Great Falls Regional SBDC for help in business planning, financial analysis, and marketing. Jason Nitschke, their SBDC Business Advisor, provided the tools they needed for success and continues to analyze their financial statements quarterly, discuss staffing issues, and strategize their marketing approach.

Jason says about the Nitschkes: “As Air Force veterans, I’m not surprised at Thad and Heidi’s attention to detail but I’m proud that they wanted to plan every detail. From budget to menu planning, they are on top of everything, even though they’ll tell you they don’t know what they’re doing. In my opinion, there’s no substitute for planning for your future and making calculated decisions. They are the epitome of doing things the right way.”

Since its inception, Electric City Coffee has created six jobs, and has been a part of the revitalization of downtown Great Falls. Thad & Heidi have also become regular participants in the Transitioning Service Member program offered at Malmstrom Air Force Base, speaking to Boots to Business attendees.