Off and running

Off and running

Need a refill?

By Clare Peterson, Comm ’10

Michael Gantz, Bus Ad ’05, loves a mug of strong, full-bodied coffee. He serves it up at Verena Street Coffee Co., founded in 2010 and named after the street he and his cousin/business partner grew up on in Dubuque.

The company’s products are featured in more than 1,000 stores throughout Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. But home base is Dubuque, Iowa, where delicious blends are sold out of a new 34,000-square-foot facility.

Verena Street Coffee’s headquarters includes a tasting room, similar to what customers find at craft breweries. Gantz sees advantages in being a small, nimble company. “Because there are less hoops to jump through, we can easily test new products and change with consumer tastes and preferences,” he says.

They recently collaborated with Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. on a limited-release barrel-aged Sumatra coffee, Knotter Blend, which was roasted and shipped all within one day. “That did really well,” Gantz says.

He attributes much of his entrepreneurial drive to his experience at Marquette, where local entrepreneurs and business leaders provided real-world perspectives during business classes. “Milwaukee has such a diverse history of manufacturing, financial and real estate businesses, which creates a vibe and passion that is highly contagious,” he says.

Love to hear about young grads on the go! Know one? Tell us a little about one @ We may share the story in an upcoming issue.

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