Entrepreneur percolates local success

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

David Levesque has a lot for which to thank the women in his life, and he’s not shy about giving credit where credit is due. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



MAIN STREET

Entrepreneur percolates local success

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
BEHIND EVERY MAN: David Levesque’s company, Brewed Awakenings CoffeeHouse, was founded in 1996 and has since grown to about $4.5 million in sales. By his own admission, he may not be where he is without the input of two strong female voices – his mother, Kay, and his wife and Brewed Awakenings co-owner, Natalie.

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 3/11/13

David Levesque has a lot for which to thank the women in his life, and he’s not shy about giving credit where credit is due.

After all, if he hadn’t followed the advice of his mother, Kay, or his wife, Natalie, he might not today be half of the team, with Natalie, that owns four Brewed Awakenings CoffeeHouse locations that serve up to 1,000 customers each daily.

“I have to give credit to my mother. She said, ‘Why don’t we sell coffee,’ and I said ‘It will be a lot of work’,” Levesque said. “She said we could do it.”

And they did. Natalie’s helpful suggestion, which convinced a reluctant Levesque to add a sandwich menu to his shop’s offerings, would come later and many years after the Rhode Island native first entered the state’s entrepreneurial scene.

In the mid-1980s Levesque was a young adult without any formal education, having not finished high school, running the vending department at Johnson & Wales University.

There was a lot of freedom in his position with hiring and ordering, which Levesque said gave him a sense of being his own boss without the worry of how he would actually make money.

“One day I just decided to put out a vending machine of my own. I did that for several years with trial and error and that ended up leading into the office coffee business,” Levesque said.

He was busy stocking local businesses and offices with their weekly coffee supplies when the opportunity to purchase a gift basket presented itself and soon he was the owner of Bella Baskets on Atwood Avenue in Johnston.

That’s when his mother, who was working with him at the basket shop, put her 2 cents in about serving coffee to customers.

“I put out one machine, and soon we had a coffee shop inside the gift-basket shop,” Levesque said. “It seemed to be a steadier source of income, where baskets were extremely seasonal.”

Five years later he expanded to a second location in downtown Providence, opening just before Sept. 11.

Limited parking and, admittedly on his part, a lack of planning, ultimately equaled failure there.

“Business was all over the place, and I lacked the experience on how to build a shop. I took what I was doing in Johnston and mimicked it, but we had no engine behind it,” Levesque said. “It was ignorance and a lack of experience. It was a difficult close, and it cost us a lot of money.”

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Save the Date - Thursday, May 29th - for the Business Women Awards Luncheon at the Providence Marriott. Winners to be announced May 2nd.
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Only a few seats remain for PBN's Manufacturing Awards Dinner and Ceremony, Thur ...
  • 40 Under Forty
    It's the 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planning a special event ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    Enrollment now open for the 2014 Healthiest Employers Program. Please take a mom ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News