Female Founders of COCO – Alyza Bohbot
Name: Alyza Bohbot
Company: Alakef Coffee Roasters and City Girl Coffee
Location: Roasting located in Duluth, MN. Product available throughout the midwest.
When did you found your business? What inspired you to start?
My parents started the business in 1990, and I took sole ownership in January of 2015. It was important for me to see our family business stay in our family.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your business?
As this was an already existing family business, one of the main struggles I had was taking an existing business and putting my own mark on it. That is where the idea for City Girl Coffee came from. While I felt an obviously deep connection to the family business, I wanted to do something that was truly a reflexion of myself. I began to get involved with women’s organizations in my industry, and came up with the idea to focus on sourcing coffee from women owned farms, and then working with these organizations to give back to these women at their country of origin. This is a mission I feel really passionate about.
How has the COCO community enabled your venture?
COCO is great for me. Since my roasting facility is based in Duluth, but my sales and marketing team is based down here, we do not really have need for a full time office space in the metro yet. COCO allows us the freedom to meet as a team at our convenience. It is also great to get out of the house every once in awhile! Being an entrepreneur and business owner can sometimes feel a bit isolated, COCO is a great community to meet new people and reach out to feel connected.
Who is one woman, dead or alive, who inspires you and why?
There are so many, but one women I have always admired is Amelia Earhart because she wasn’t afraid to take risks and fail.
When you’re not running your business out of COCO, what are you passionate about?
I am deeply passionate about my friends and family, but also music. I play piano, sing, and song write. It is a great stress reliever for me and really allows me to get my creative juices flowing!