John Puckett and his wife Kim had a case of “the Mondays” that struck almost as soon as they landed corporate jobs after business school. “Life is too short to spend Sunday night dreading going in to work on Monday,” John says. “We felt like life is … too precious to not really feel connected to your work and passionate about what you’re doing.” That conviction led to the creation of Caribou Coffee, now the No. 2 coffee chain in the U.S. It's No. 1 in Minnesota—the one market Starbucks doesn’t dominate—and that’s because of several strategic decisions made by the Pucketts. They grew the chain to more than 100 stores before selling in 2000. A year later, John became co-owner of a small but beloved St. Paul restaurant called Punch Pizza. He’s spent nearly 20 years growing Punch slowly, locally and without any outside investors. Puckett explains why he was determined to build a different sort of company his second time around.
Following our conversation with Puckett, we go Back to the Classroom with University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business Professor David Deeds, the Schulze Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, who explains the pros and cons of venture capital and why slow growth is under appreciated in business today.
Editor-in-Chief of TCBMag
Caribou Coffee co-founder, Punch Pizza co-owner