OFP Productions caught up with Juanita Michelle Darden, Owner of 3rd Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar, 46 W 5th St, Dayton, Ohio. Located in the heart of downtown and primed to serve the greater community six days a week.
Q: What is your favorite movie, why?
A: My favorite movie is The Wiz. I love it because it really gives me hope in going for things even though nothing is familiar and if you are in a strange place. It makes me know how important friends are and how different friends fulfill different needs in our lives. I love this movie because it forces you to understand that you are equipped with all you need to get where you want to go.
Q: One mistake that you made and what did you learn?
A: I learned from my first business not to rush. I proved that I could open a business but I also showed just how easy it is for a business to close (six months). I learned so much from that experience that help me mold what has become Third Perk.
Q: As a coffee shop owner, what do you do to recharge?
A: I find a quiet place where I can be alone and enjoy the silence. I take time to read, write and reflect. I also recharge by having conversations with my children. I have an opportunity to catch up with what is going on with their lives. I miss so much operating my business.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: I wake up about 5:30am even if I am not opening the café. I give thanks for another day and another day to be better than I was the day before. Many days I start by a trip the market to collect needed supplies for the day. I make a list of things that I want to accomplish for the day. My days are always full, they often include teaching mathematics at our community college. They often end with me closing Third Perk.
Q: What are two joys and two challenges about being a hybrid-entrepreneur?
A: The biggest joy I have experienced is a total surprised, it is the joy of hearing others tell me how I have inspired them and the pursuit of their own dream in business ownership. It is a great feeling to know that you are empowering others to move into their destiny.
My number one challenge has been the access to capital. The second challenge has been finding the right talent to play the keys roles in my business.
Q: Who are your mentors?
A: My mentor is my best friend Tiffany Bozeman, Bernice Brown a former chair of my department and Peter Simmons the owner of Evans Café
Q: Is Mathematics your first love?
A: Mathematics is not my first love. Entrepreneurship has always been my first love. Mathematics has been a catalyst to provide a wonderful lifestyle for my family. It has paved a road that has allowed me to live out my dreams. Being in mathematics has also given students of color and women the opportunity to have a instructor who they can relate to and to understand that a life of a college professor is a possibility for them as well.
Q: Who is supporting local arts and up and coming artist a huge part of owning a Coffee House?
A: There is certain expectations when someone makes a visit to coffeehouse. They want to feel a freedom to talk, share and to create. The walls of a coffeehouse should talk. At Third Perk we have filled our walls with local art work from home grown artist. We feature one artists’ work every quarter. The artist has the opportunity to use Third Perk as their own gallery. It is a total win win for everyone involved. Third Perk is filled with wonderful pieces, customers enjoy beauty works of art and the artist many times have the opportunity to sell their works.
Q: Why are you starting a Midday Open Mic?
A: Another important aspect of having a coffeehouse is having the ability for artist to perform. At Third Perk we have made an opportunity for artist to take the mic and to speak freely! Our doors have been open to musicians, songstress and poets. Friday night has become a favorite night to catch live talent. The third Thursday of each month a local poet host an open mic night. This night is open to both poets and other performing artist. We are expanding our third Thursday open mic night to an afternoon which we have named Mid Day Poetry. I am looking to draw students from our local community college and workers from adjacent businesses to enjoy local poets share their works. I am so excited about this. Dayton is so full of talent and Third Perk has so many opportunities for our local talents to shine bright.