Luke and Autumn Pruitt’s journey started when they moved back to their hometown of Omaha in 2010 and started a small bakery.
In those first few years, they subleased a kitchen and a tiny storefront from Aromas Coffeehouse on the corner of 11th and Jones streets. A year and a half later, they purchased the coffee shop and expanded Hardy Coffee.
“There’s just no more authentic way to bring people together than around really good food and really good coffee,” says Autumn Pruitt.
The Pruitts’ four coffee shops 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 loved spending time with her family in the kitchen, and eventually, it grew into a passion. She decided to turn that passion into a career. Pruitt says making delicious food and coffee is a way to “connect people who maybe didn’t know each other before.”
After opening their second location in Benson, the couple started roasting their own coffee in 2015 for their shops. Today, their business has grown to 30 wholesale accounts.
The Pruitts constantly peruse wholesale accounts to find ways that can expand their coffee business throughout the region.
Roasting their own coffee has proved a successful way to partner with other local, small businesses. “We don’t necessarily want Hardy Coffee on every street corner,” Pruitt says, “but how we partner with you helps make this piece of it excellent, local, and approachable.”
Hardy’s house roast, The Benchmark Blend, has proven to be a fan favorite. “If people are used to drinking Folgers,” Pruitt says. “This is an elevated baby step into specialty coffee.”
Customers can purchase a bag of coffee to make espresso, cold brew, or drip coffee at home, too. “We work really hard to create something that would be missed if it was ever gone,” Pruitt says.
During the height of the pandemic, Hardy’s customers rallied around the company. “It means a ton to me,” Pruitt says. “We’ve hopefully created something of value that people want to see around for a long time.”
Along with the coffee, the Pruitts operate a main bakery at their Highlander location in North Omaha. Cinnamon and pecan rolls are top sellers, but the bakery also features a variety of muffins, birthday cakes, soft pretzels and other items.
“Everything is made on-site from scratch in our bakery, and then we distribute it to our own shops every day,” Pruitt says.
In the last two years, the Pruitts transitioned much of their products for online purchase, which makes it easy for customers to preorder through the website. Hardy not only delivers in Omaha but also to friends and family across the country.
“It’s been a more convenient way for people to support a small business,” Pruitt says.
Hardy also partners with other coffee shops and restaurants such as Sunnyside, a breakfast place in South Omaha that sells Hardy’s cinnamon rolls every day. “We try really hard to be both excellent and approachable,” Pruitt says.
The company offered free delivery for purchases on the online store during the pandemic and discovered a variety of customers in South-West Omaha. The Pruitts opened their first drive-thru location in November 2021, located in Chalco.
“We see everything from moms walking in with strollers, to a lot of college students,” Pruitt says. “Young, old, and everything in between, we just love being a gathering spot for people in the neighborhood.”
Customers can check out Hardy’s website at hardycoffee.com to find a variety of products through the online store. Customers can also sign up for a monthly coffee subscription for $17 per month.
Hardy’s also offers “Free Coffee Friday” when customers can get one free brewed coffee of any size per vehicle. This is available at Hardy’s drive-thru location (14450 Meadows Blvd.) open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
“We make every menu item intentionally, with you in mind—to fuel the difference-makers of our city and to partner with wholesale accounts across the region to do the same for the communities they know and love,” according to Hardy’s website. ◆