Let’s Talk Business: Losing Your Location with Ryan Wanner

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Business, where Square business owners share their stories, the biggest lessons they learned, and their plans for the future. 


Today we’re talking to Ryan Wanner (@ryanwanner), owner of Golden Pine Coffee Roasters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ryan started his original business, R&R Coffee Cafe, in 2008. Recently he ran into challenges with the landlord and had to make the hardest decision of his life: to close the location in 2023. 


There’s so much to learn from Ryan’s experience, from the impossible decision to close his doors to the incredible perseverance and creativity required to jump into a brand new business model. Remembering the passion that got you started is a great place to pull ideas from, and the joy of your customers is a fantastic motivation to keep going. Always have a backup plan, don’t be afraid to pivot, know when to walk away, and find ways to keep going.


Watch the 30-minute video interview and read some highlights from our conversation.


Can you walk us through the current chapter of your business and the challenges you’ve been facing?


“At the end of 2021, the owner of the property decided to sell, and the new owners canceled everybody’s leases and went month-to-month. I wanted to do some expansion on the space, but that’s a pricey investment and not something that I wanted to do without a lease in place. In April of 2023, there was a major utility issue on the property. We ended up being closed for 17 days while the landlord figured out what they could do to fix it. That became the writing on the wall for me. It was a big mess, and it came down to: I need a lease or I need to go. Finally, I just gave my 30 days, so I decided to take the coffee roasting side of that and spin it off under its own thing.”


How did you make that decision to walk away?


“That was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life, because that was my baby. That was 15 years of blood, sweat, tears, and everything else going into that building. That took almost three weeks for me, sitting there staring in the mirror going, ‘Is this the right idea?’ I finally hit that point with the continued lack of communication. Even if we do end up with a lease, I can just see this becoming more and more of a problem. I just have to make that decision. I don’t want to, but I have to.”


Golden Pine Coffee Roasters on Instagram @gpr.coffeeGolden Pine Coffee Roasters on Instagram @gpr.coffee


What does the business look like now in this iteration? 


“I decided it was time to move the roastery out into its own thing. I always loved coffee. So let me get back to focusing on coffee. My overhead is way down. I think in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to be a little bit more profitable than what I was trying to do with the full restaurant and bakery and roastery. I have a lease signed for a commercial space, somewhere for my big coffee roaster. I’m in a few farmers markets and coffee bars in the area to do pop-ups. I have a little portable coffee roaster, I roast on site, I sell coffee. I do shipping across the U.S. and local delivery within a 50 mile radius of my roastery through my website.”


This is a really big change, and it’s hard to make pivots like this. How are you feeling about all of this? 


“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was some kind of fear about what’s next. Four months ago I had the absolute body blow of losing everything that I built my life to do. It took me a couple of months to recover from that. Now I want to get it going again. This is fun. Through all of it, I was still in farmers markets once a week, getting out there, and watching people’s reactions when they tried the coffee. This is what I am put on this earth to do, and I want to keep going with it. That reminded me of why I got into this in the first place.”


Ryan Wanner and his daughter at their farmers market standRyan Wanner and his daughter at their farmers market stand

What else do you want to share that you’ve learned along the way? 


“Make sure you have that ‘What if?’ binder. For something as simple as a car hitting the power pole and we’re going to be out of power for the next three days. What do we do? All the way down to the landlord just pulled the lease right out from under me. What’s next? And believe in yourself. You still gotta look for the glimmers, those little things that make me go, ‘Maybe I am doing this right.’ Believe in yourself, but know what to do when everything falls apart.”


Watch: Let's Talk Business with Ryan Wanner


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Aylon Pesso is the Square Small-Business Evangelist, helping sellers run their businesses better. Based in the U.S., he is a former small-business owner, consultant, and Square seller.


This article is only for informational purposes. The information provided in this article solely reflects the speakers’ views and are not endorsed by Square. This article is limited in scope and is only intended as a high-level overview of the topics mentioned.