It’s June, which means it’s almost Father’s Day (June 20! Don’t forget!) and it’s also graduation season. After a challenging year, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the people we love—and show some love for the small businesses in our communities, too.
In our Meet The Merchant series, we’ve spoken with a number of small business owners who are dads, were inspired by their dads, or support local college students with their businesses (or some combination of all three). We’ve also spoken to a few merchants who offer great graduation gifts that ship nationwide. We hope you enjoy reading about some of our featured merchants here, and hope you’ll support the hardworking small business owners in your community while you’re celebrating the dads and grads in your life.
Dads give us so much, and Jasmine Diedrich’s dad is no exception. Her father loaned her the money to open her first two espresso stands. Coffee is actually a family business—her grandfather, father, and uncle are all in coffee and coffee roasting. With a leg up from her supportive dad, Diedrich was able to build her own business, and Diedrich Espresso now has 15 locations selling a custom coffee blend roasted in the traditional Italian style.
“Running a business is almost like raising a kid,” says Anthony Drummer, founder of Drummer Imports Service & Sales Center. Drummer is the father of twin sons, and he says he approaches his business the way he approaches parenting: “When you raise kids, you take care of them, you love them, you nurture them, and you teach them. Hopefully when you need it, they’ll take care of you, too.”
Hendrick Leibrandt, founder of Destiny Farm Cattle, is a third-generation farmer. He grew up on his grandfather’s farm in South Africa. He brought those traditional farming techniques to Ohio, and now prioritizes humane and sustainable farming practices that keep his cows—and customers—happy and healthy.
“I am a product of a small business owner, my father,” Michel says. He started working for his father’s accounting business when he was just 16. Today, Michel owns his own company, Kwame A. Michel, Inc. He says that working with his father gave him the opportunity to work with many local small business owners, and learn from their experiences, as well as his dad’s.
Dmitry Petrov of Oksa Cakes speaks highly of his father, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in 2017 and started this family business. The bistro side of the business, Petrov says, “was really my dad’s vision when they first opened. He doesn’t have formal culinary training, but he’s an exceptional chef. We all love his cooking!” If you’re looking for a gift for your own dad, try Petrov’s dad’s side business, Serge’s Salumeria, shipping nationally via Etsy.
Husband-and-wife team Richard and Mindy Nahki run JoJoseph Photography together, bringing their two different visual styles to shoot family portraits, weddings, and more. Graduation photos are a big part of their business, and a great way to celebrate the graduates in your life.
Mignon Francois started from scratch when she began building her business, The Cupcake Collection. She was close to losing her home to foreclosure, but bit by bit, sale by sale, she built a thriving business that now has two locations, in Nashville and New Orleans. Francois gives back to her community by funding scholarships at Tennessee State University. “I’m amazed that I’m now helping kids whose names I don’t even know walk across the stage,” she says. Her cakes and cupcakes ship nationwide, so you can celebrate the grad in your life and pay it forward, through Francois’ support of students in her community, at the same time.