McALLEN — A new business in the city is combining home-style brewing with an environment friendly to four-legged friends.
Jessenia Rodriguez, 22, has had her mind set on becoming an entrepreneur since telling her parents at a young age she planned to be her own boss.
“It started when I was about 14 or 15,” Rodriguez said. “I started getting into the coffee trend. I had always liked going to other local coffee shops and I told my parents one day, I’m going to have a coffee shop. I’ll do it after I graduate or later on in the years.”
“ I told my daddy, I’m not going to work for someone, I want to be the boss,” Rodriguez added.
The Mission native, who is a business management student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, was assigned a school project where she and classmates had to brainstorm and create an imaginary business and learn how to run it.
“In the spring, my friend and I were taking a class for management and entrepreneurship and we had to come up with a business plan and I asked her, can we do it over the coffee shop, just so we can get an idea of it,” Rodriguez said. “My professor said this is just a coffee shop, can you incorporate something better into it?”
That’s when Rodriguez got the idea to make the coffee shop dog-friendly.
“My parents were like you can do this now or you can wait, but you’ll never get an opportunity like this,” Rodriguez said. “Let’s just do it now, so I have the time, I’m almost going to graduate and decided to go for it.”
Now she is putting the education she received at UTRGV to start the business she has been dreaming about for years.
“I wanted to be able to have a business, whether it was a coffee shop or not, and that’s why I went into business management,” she said.
Rodriguez also credits her father, who’s a local businessman himself. He has become an example for her with teachable moments and making sure she becomes successful.
Rodriguez followed the proper procedure on opening a business in the city. As for accommodating pets in the coffee shop, the city requested they stay outdoors.
“As long as they’re not inside, but what I tell people, as long as they’re on a leash, you can come and order and go back out and we’ll go ahead and take them the drinks,” the young entrepreneur said. “If they’re service dogs or emotional support dogs then they’re welcome inside.”
The coffee shop provides an open space for pets to play and includes a treat for the pets while guests may occupy the outdoor furniture in the daytime or in the evening.
Rodriguez doesn’t just focus on fresh brews; baked pastries have also been a success. She is also setting goals to widen her menu depending on the preferences of customers.
“I want to see what people like,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the whole point — to serve my people in the community and make them happy.”
Coffee with Companions is located on 1113 Upas Ave.