Luke and Autumn Pruitt’s journey began when they returned to their hometown of Omaha in 2010 and opened a small bakery.
During those early years, they sublet a kitchen and small storefront at Aromas Coffeehouse, on the corner of 11th and Jones Streets. A year and a half later, they purchased the cafe now known as Hardy Coffee Co., which expanded to three additional locations.
“There’s simply no more authentic way to bring people together than over great food and great coffee,” said Autumn Pruitt.
Their four cafes are located at 14450 Meadows Blvd. in Chalco; 2112 N 30th St. in Highlander; 6051 Maple St. in Benson and 1031 Jones St. located downtown.
Pruitt grew up with people always in the kitchen, and it eventually became a passion. She decided she wanted to make a career of making great food and coffee for people. She describes it as “a way to connect people who may not have known each other before”.
After opening their second location in Benson, they started roasting their own coffee in 2015 for their stores and now have 30 wholesaler accounts which have continued to grow steadily over the years.
They constantly scour wholesale accounts and find ways to offer their fresh, expertly roasted coffee in other locations in the region.
Roasting their own coffee has been a great way to partner with other local small businesses.
“We don’t necessarily want Hardy Coffee on every corner, but ‘how can we partner with you to help make this piece great, local and accessible? “Said Pruitt.
Their house roast, The Benchmark Blend, seems to be a fan favorite for one main reason: it’s just a really good cup of coffee.
“If people are used to drinking Folgers, that’s a small step toward specialty coffee,” Pruitt said.
If you buy a bag of it off the shelf, it also works great as espresso, cold brew, or drip coffee at home.
“We work very hard to create something that we would miss if it disappeared,” Pruitt said.
Over the past two years, with things on hold due to COVID-19, Hardy’s customers have rallied around the company. People voted with their dollars during COVID to ensure the coffee business would stay thriving.
“It means a lot to me,” Pruitt said. “We hope to have created something of value that people have wanted to see for a long time.”
In addition to coffee, they still have a strong bakery component, which is found primarily at their Highlander location in North Omaha. Their cinnamon pecan buns are top sellers, but they also offer a variety of delicious muffins, as well as birthday cakes and soft pretzels.
“Everything is made on site from scratch in our bakery, and then we distribute it to our own stores every day,” Pruitt said.
Over the past couple of years, they’ve transitioned many of their products to online shopping, which makes it easy for people to pre-order through their website. They deliver not only here in Omaha, but also to friends and family across the country.
“It’s a more convenient way for people to support a small business,” Pruitt said.
They’re also partnering with other cafes and restaurants like Sunnyside on Center, a relatively new breakfast spot in south Omaha that sells Hardy’s cinnamon rolls daily.
“We really try to be both excellent and accessible,” Pruitt said.
They offered free shipping for everything on their online store during the pandemic and discovered a variety of customers in South and West Omaha. They ended up opening their first drive-thru in November 2021 in Chalco.
“We see everything from moms walking with strollers to lots of college students,” Pruitt said. “Young, old and everything in between, we love being a gathering place for people in the neighborhood.”
On their website, you can find a variety of products and sign up for a monthly coffee subscription for $17 per month. This is an effort to make your life easier by delivering their coffee right to your doorstep.