Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

A Moment with our EDTP Graduate- Jordan Mead

Posted on 4/29/2020 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News

Jordan Lee Mead is the owner and CEO of Alter Course Coffee Company. He is also a graduate of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program. We had a chance to sit down with him to ask about his experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA's training program

(1) LAEDA:  Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I remember wanting to own a business when I was a teenager. I had a romanticized image of a shop that looked like a cool community space where people would want to gather. Back then, I hadn’t yet understood what a hard day's work was. Although I now know what that means, my vision has not changed. I still want to create a community space that is not only a pathway to opportunity for its employees bring but also a place that brings the community together.

(2) LAEDA: Why did you choose your industry?

There are several factors, including the fact that the coffee industry has diverse and multifaceted functions as well as an accessible range of career opportunities. Also, I have over a decade of experience in the food industry, including as a barista.

My mobile coffee business idea is a low cost way to start a business and to create a foundation for my ultimate goal of having a coffee shop. It also gives me the flexibility to grow my business without quitting my job. This way, I can continue to have an income and put money back into the business as it is growing.

I am a lover of "third places." Or as Ray Oldenburg puts it, "places where people spend time between home ('first' place) and work ('second' place). They are places where we exchange ideas, have a good time, and build relationships." I want to eventually have location that serves as someone’s “third place”.

(3) LAEDA: Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-ha!” moments? How did the program help you?

I have many years experience in small businesses and the field I am pursuing. But I do not have experience with taxes, filling out spreadsheets, tracking cash flow, marketing, etc. so LAEDA filled in those gaps of knowledge. I feel like one of the biggest takeaways will be the community support it creates just from being in this experienced network of entrepreneurs. I am still in contact with LAEDA and they are still helping me reach my goals. I believe I will be reaping the benefits of the EDTP program for a very long time.

(4) LAEDA: Tell me about your journey on the road to business start-up. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

My journey has been a long one. I was around 14 years old when I first wanted to own a Performance Parts Automotive Store. I was reading Small Business for Dummies instead of my school textbooks. I took drafting class in high school and created a blueprint for the shop I wanted. I still have notebooks full of notes on how I would develop the business. For two decades, as I gained work experience, I imagined different ideas that always seemed out of reach. But this idea has finally reached me at the perfect time in my life. I am confident in the idea and ready to get to work.

(5) LAEDA: Could you tell me a little about where your business is today?

I passed the county health inspection and plan on participating in events as soon this social distancing ends. I pretty much have everything I need now for the Peddler's License and will be applying for that soon. Due to COVID 19, the hope of starting operations in the Spring has vanished but I am still working behind the scenes on projects until I can start providing in-person service again.

Once I have my brick and mortar in the future, I want to create an atmosphere that:

  • Provides a foundation for supporting local artists. (Wall space, open mics, events, etc.)
  • Fosters the growth of local groups and organizations
  •  Compliments other local and small businesses
  • Serves as a place to rest and refresh after a group bike ride, or for someone walking around town
  • Is a place to get away and study for students.
  • Draws coffee lovers to a destination with a unique and high quality product

Congratulations to Jordan Lee Mead for completing EDTP and recommitting to his journey on the path of entrepreneurship .To get in touch with Jordan Lee Mead, you can email him at jordan@altercoursecoffee.com. Jordan was also featured in the online news journal TAPinto Camden. Click here to read the full article titled “Camden Barista Copes with the Mental Pitfalls of Staying Inside.

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is a free, nine-week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Spring and Fall each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and one year of technical assistance. Apply online at www.LAEDA.com.