Owner of the Detour Coffeebar Truck, Mike Hargett, is a local entrepreneur in Charlotte. For the majority of his life, he worked in corporate America doing office work. After growing tired of his office job, he decided to look into other avenues of employment.
Mike had previously worked as a barista at Border’s Books and also had a dream of opening a coffee truck. So, he started researching the process of going into business and also enrolled in business classes at the local community college. His efforts paid off in the end, as his dream of a coffee truck came true last October with the opening of the Detour Coffeebar truck.
Can you briefly explain how the Detour Coffeebar was born?
Working in the corporate environment, I felt I was losing the connection with real people and community — a connection I recalled from prior bookstore barista roles.
What’s your favorite thing about coffee?
My favorite thing about coffee is actually not coffee — it’s the community, the conversations, the creativity. It’s amazing how much a cup of coffee connects us all, no matter what background or zip code or political views. It’s truly amazing
In an NBA article published earlier this month you said, “If there’s passion, make sure there’s education behind it.”
I said that? Sounds like me! LOL!
Can you elaborate a little more on this statement? Do you feel your business would not have thrived the way it has if you hadn’t gotten the necessary education?
I think passion can only get you so far. Passion is fuel for the vehicle, and we all need fuel. But education is the under-the-hood mechanics that keeps us well-maintained.
Can you briefly compare your life now to before when working in corporate America?
I think I felt a little powerless and at the mercy of a blurred hierarchy. At times it felt that titles superseded the actual work and that is no longer the case. Yes, I have more control, but I have considerably more risk… which, when it works, is truly rewarding!
What’s been the biggest change of all since you’ve started your venture and left your corporate job? Is there anything you miss about your previous position?
One of the biggest changes is that “nothing is guaranteed” is even more true. If I miss anything, it would be the steady paycheck! And the benefits — PTO went from meaning Paid Time Off to Play Time Over.
What advice do you have for individuals thinking of becoming an entrepreneur like yourself?
I’m only a year into this, so I don’t have a lot of advice. I’m still learning and still hopeful! I think any new entrepreneurs should definitely pace themselves and weigh out ALL options.
What’s your favorite Detour Coffeebar menu item?
We’re transitioning from summer to fall menus but the ’90s menu is close to my heart! I play a ’90s song every week when I post the weekly schedule so things like Destiny’s Chai and Boyz II Mint are just fun and something different and unexpected.
In your opinion, why is it so important to celebrate and advocate for diversity?
Diversity keeps us interested and creative. Celebrating diversity is celebrating humanity. We won’t learn about humanity if we’re not accepting and advocating for diversity.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If resources weren’t an issue? I’d say travel writing!
What are three words that describe you best?
Determined, motivated and inspired.