Jun 19, 2024 | By: Sammy Holladay

In Business: Loco Espress, a Mother-and-Daughter-Run Coffee Shop in Brainerd

Many Americans begin their day with a cup of coffee. In Brainerd, many locals are flocking to Loco Espress Coffee House and Boutique to get their caffeine fix throughout the day.

Mary Tuomi did not envision herself as the owner of a coffee shop, but she says she was convinced by her husband and a higher power to open the business.

“I just didn’t think it was for me,” said Tuomi. “I didn’t know a lot about coffee. And honestly, God just kept telling me He needed a place for people to come. And so it just happened, it just kept escalating.”

With Tuomi’s children out of the house, Loco Espress also allowed her to bring one of her kids, Ava, back home.

“Ava was living in Arizona, and I called her,'” Tumoi explained. “I said, ‘You want to do this with me?’ And she said, ‘Absolutely.’ So she came home and we began.”

And for Ava, being able to come back and run a business with her mom was a no-brainer.

“We have our hard times, we have our good times. But I would much rather be with my family than far away,” she stated.

Loco Espress has 18 employees, which is a lot for a coffee shop. The Tuomis lead from the front as they work regularly in the shop. They also created a family atmosphere with their employees where everyone lifts each other up.

“It’s very important because when we want to take our time off, they’re all willing to help us out, you know?” Ava said. “We cover their shifts as much as we can. And it’s really nice ’cause then we always take like a mother-daughter trip every year. And it’s nice that they’re willing to cover that.”

One thing that Loco Espress offers its customers that is unique from other coffee shops is something that brewery-goers will be familiar with – drink flights.

“My husband is part-owners in Roundhouse Brewery [in Nisswa] and they did beer flights and I thought, ‘We can do a coffee flight.'” explained Mary. “Our cold brew flight is what we started with. And then we went to a latte flight, and now we do steamer flights, lemonade flights, zinger flights and Italian soda flights.”

Many customers at Loco Espress don’t just get their coffee and go. The shop has many customers who visit with friends, family, or coworkers to have all types of meetings, something that the Tuomis are grateful for.

“They have meetings, they have Bible studies, they have homeschooling sessions, and we stay busy,” stated Mary. “There’s quiet times and they’re lovely so we can get re-situated, but we’ll stay busy sometimes till 6:00 at night and it’s just beautiful. It’s a blessing.”

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