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Jessica Ballou, Published August 19 2012

It's My Job: Coffee kiosk owner credits her ADHD for career success

FARGO – After receiving a master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Dakota, Jeanna Cook didn’t think she’d end up in the coffee business.

Through family connections and word of mouth, however, she ended up buying two Northstar Coffee kiosks in 1996.

Now she owns and operates four Northstar Coffee kiosks in Fargo.

Cook credits her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for helping maintain a fun, creative and fast-paced work environment.

Being her own boss is one of the biggest perks of her job, but creating new drinks is another activity she and her employees enjoy.

Q: Do you get mostly regulars or new people?

>A: I would say 70 percent are regulars … and you need new people to keep the business going.

You see their kids grow up; they see your kids grow up. You really get to know your customers.

I definitely have ADHD, but that has brought traits for the job: creativity, drive, importance for risk taking, the need for quickness and not having to work for someone.

I picked something where I can sustain and be myself. I can just be my personality when I’m here, and it’s fun.

What makes Northstar Coffee different from other coffee places in the area?

Primarily we’re focused on drive-thru. We have quick service, efficiency and our menu is very focused.

There’s definitely a certain Northstar personality: perky, bubbly, friendly, but professional and quick.

Customer service is definitely the key.

We have more of a variety as far as selection of types of drinks and 20 sugar-free (syrup) options.

We’re more creative. An employee made up the Wonka Bar cappuccino smoothie. It has thick caramel, thick white chocolate and English toffee syrup.

What do you like the most?

The fact that I can be me. I don’t fit in a box, and I will never fit in a box. Obviously the customer interaction. It fills that social part of me, too.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 235-7311