Derek Mogen, owner of the “Wired Bean,” didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. It kind of just happened. But after visiting with him, it is plain to see that he is “wired” for entrepreneurship.
Like most entrepreneurs, his journey has had a few twists and turns. After graduating from Lincoln High School in 1999, he went to school at Northland Community and Technical College to study the construction trades. After finishing school he moved to the Twin Cities, where he got hired by a construction company and worked on high-end houses.
He knew that he didn’t want to raise a family in the Twin Cities, so after he got married, he and his wife decided to move back to Thief River Falls.
Initially, he focused on doing construction jobs, but when the 2008-2009 recession hit, construction took a big downturn and he knew that he had to try something else. Like most successful entrepreneurs, Derek is very adaptable, and found that he was able to respond fairly quickly to new opportunities. Before long, he had opened “Eazy Pack N Ship,” a shipping services business, and “Wired Bean,” a coffee shop.
He outgrew his first location in a local grocery store and found a new location in the former “Twice but Nice” building. He never intended to be a developer, but he ended up buying and redeveloping the whole building, creating space for the shipping business, the coffee shop, spaces for two additional businesses, and a few apartments on the second level. He was able to put his construction experience to good use, doing virtually all of the redevelopment of the building himself.
While I was visiting with Derek at the Wired Bean, business was brisk. In addition to coffee, the Wired Bean offers a wide selection of food, all prepared from scratch in their own kitchen, including a variety of breakfast items, sweet treats, sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastas. Derek told me that all pastas were “made from scratch and designed by his Creative Cook,” with the exception of the “Honey Mac” which Derek enjoys taking credit for.
He employs 25 people in the coffee shop, including a kitchen manager, a front-of-the-house manager, an assistant kitchen manager, and a creative cook. He also has staff on-site at Digi-Key. Although he works hard, he appreciates the flexibility that entrepreneurship affords him. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “For every tough day, I remind myself of the flexibility I have and the ability to take time to be with my family when I want to.”
Jessica does the books and runs Eazy Pack N Ship a couple days a week. Derek and Jessica have two children: Irisah, age 12, and Zayne, age 9. Derek said, “we appreciate the opportunities a smaller town provides our kids. They can get involved in things like sports and community theater that would not have been possible in the Twin Cities.”