Bea Wolnerman, founder of Bea’s Squeeze and Bea’s Detroit could give lessons on a masterful business pivot.
Exhibit A: In 2018, she and her husband and business partner Eli, bought an old building in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market to build out their co-working space, Bea’s. Shortly after finalizing the deal they were advised that it needed to be torn down and rebuilt.
Instead of waiting for the work to be done, they got to work, purchased a forgotten patch of land along the city’s Dequindre Cut bike bath and started selling small-batch lemonade via an interactive pulley system. That lemonade, Bea’s Squeeze, is now in over 200 stores across the country.
Whew! And wow!
Read on for Exhibit B and more about how Bea and Eli are true examples of the creativity and determination it takes to not only make a business work, but to stay open to potential new revenue opportunities along the way.
What’s the obstacle that you have overcome that you are most proud of?
Our timing couldn't have been worse when launching our coworking, cafe and event space, Bea’s.
After spending almost two years renovating and rebuilding our Eastern Market location, we opened our doors for the first time in March 2020, only two weeks before the statewide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. As discouraging as it was, we pushed harder than ever to make sure we kept our momentum as a brand new business. We pivoted our business model to create virtual programming for entrepreneurs and created new ways to boost businesses around the city through the Small Business Art Garden on the Dequindre Cut.
Once we were able to reopen, we created a Tiny Wedding program to give couples a safe and beautiful place to celebrate with limited guests. The event side of our business has taken off, keeping us afloat in this difficult climate. We are thrilled that we have been able to be so nimble in the face of adversity and have found ways to adapt our business to keep moving forward.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started?
I wish I would have known how many different roles a business owner truly has to play.
Not only am I the boss, but I’m the receptionist, the salesman, the HR manager, the marketing genius, the accountant, the chef, and sometimes even the janitor.
My job never really ends - I’m always on the clock!
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
Just go for it. You can spend months planning, but you will never truly know what will happen until you begin. Start somewhere, and take small steps forward. Make easy, attainable goals and take it one day at a time so that the end result doesn't seem so daunting. You got this!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Each day looks different for me. Some days are more focused on our lemonade company, Bea's Squeeze, while some are more focused on coworking and events at Bea's.
Some days I'm there bright and early to help in the cafe, and other days I'm staying late at night to officiate a wedding.
The life of an entrepreneur changes day by day and I absolutely love it!.
What’s next for Bea’s and Bea’s Squeeze?
Get ready to hear about Bea's and see Bea's Squeeze in more and more stores. We're expanding throughout the Midwest and we have big things planned. Stay tuned!
Want to learn more about Bea, Bea’s Detroit, and Bea’s Squeeze?
Check out the Bea’s Detroit and Bea’s Squeeze websites.
Follow @beasdetroit and @beassqueeze on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.