Women Owned Small Business Highlight: Crazy Gander Coffee Company
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Dana Bunke and her husband, Kevin Crow, founded Crazy Gander Coffee Company in 2021. Located on what used to be called “The Wall Street of Memphis,” Crazy Gander is in a two-story building with the coffee shop on the first floor and an apartment upstairs. Dana and her husband moved to Memphis in 2015 and fell in love with downtown. “The five years that I was here initially, as we were making the decision [to start a business], I was really kind of blown away by the amount of growth. I love downtown, love the walkable spaces and being able to have everything nearby without having to get in the car, the people, the culture, and there was a lot of municipal investment taking place,” said Dana. When you first see Crazy Gander Coffee Company there is a mural on the west wall. It depicts a woman with a crow’s head with a cup of coffee in her hand. Brandon Donahue created it and, according to Crazy Gander’s website, “In March 2020, Brandon returned to Memphis and helped put a personal stamp on the building…he finished the piece by placing a coffee cup in hand as the final stamp on the newest mural brightening downtown Memphis.”
I asked her why she chose the name “Crazy Gander” and she attributes it to Kevin. Kevin claims that, when he was a child, he was charged by a Canadian goose, which is terrifying. This is what inspired the Crazy Gander name, gander being another word for a male goose. Dana stated, “As you can see, from a brand standpoint we have a theme going…Big, beautiful, fierce waterfowl that stick together.” CGCC offers a unique yet cozy, family-like atmosphere chain coffee shops can’t achieve. “It was a combination of stars aligning, incredible growth in the city of Memphis, and really kind of wanting to be part of a community,”said Dana. Even though Dana and Kevin aren’t from Memphis, theirs is a true Memphis business. “I think what makes us unique to Memphis is that belief and that pride in Memphis, that ‘choose 901’ spirit. I love when people come to visit Memphis; I love meeting people who are from Memphis and so, in everything that we’ve done with Crazy Gander, we’ve really worked hard to bring Memphis into everyone’s everyday experience.”
Dana is a veteran of the US Air Force and now runs Crazy Gander Coffee as well as consulting with nonprofits through The Giving Gander. Running two businesses can be hard, so I asked Dana what she does to relax (besides drinking lots of Crazy Gander coffee) She said she tries to remind herself not to get overwhelmed. She focuses on what she can get done instead of worrying about what the future holds. Dana loves to make to-do lists, saying “You can’t do everything. You just update the to-do list; it never actually goes away. It’s important to take a moment to appreciate the things you’ve crossed off the old [to-do list].” I asked if she feels she has faced more hardships running a business than men who run businesses. Dana told me:
“Yes, I think in general I hold that opinion about most things in terms of the challenges that women face in the workforce, whether it's a nine to five corporate job, or whether it's a business owner, or whether it's an individual trying to get construction completed on a building. You know, the amount of weight that your words carry sometimes is not recognized and oftentimes there is a lot of, I guess, feedback might be the word or, you know, feelings about being assertive.”
I asked what advice she would give a woman wanting to start a business. She had some great encouragement, saying, “my advice would be don’t underestimate your value or your worth. We have a tendency to minimize ourselves and our roles and it’s important to keep in mind that, whoever you are, whatever you do, you have something unique and wonderful to offer.”
Dana provided much insight into running a woman-owned business. Is your business uniquely Memphis? Reach out to The Profit Link for an interview for our blog or podcast!