FALL RIVER – While many college students work hard for summer jobs, Maddie Collins-Macedo’s summer is a little different. The 19-year-old from Westport owns Dockside Café, a new café that has just opened in Borden Light Marina.
“My friends asked me what I was thinking and I didn’t really get an answer,” she said with a laugh.
Collins-Macedo recently completed her freshman year at Quinnipiac University, where she is studying criminal justice and psychology. She is considering a career as a therapist for survivors of sexual violence.
But being an entrepreneur is in the blood of his family. Her mother owns Rustic Rose, a florist in Westport, and her grandfather owns a construction business.
“I have seen such positive examples of how to run a business,” she said.
In her first year, Collins-Macedo began brewing coffee in her dorm for herself and her roommates. This habit gave her the idea, she says, to use the money she’s saved since getting her first job at age 15 to open a cafe.
Earlier this month, the Dockside Café opened in a marina location formerly occupied by Pink Bean Coffee, offering coffee, smoothies and breakfast sandwiches. Some of the favorites on the Collins-Macedo menu are their mokas, malasadas, and French toast sandwiches.
Crash course on running a business
Over the past few weeks, the young cafe owner has been taking a crash course in the ins and outs of running a business, learning to do things like assess how much food to order. It’s been tricky, she said, since she was initially surprised at how busy they’ve been – on a recent weekday morning there was an endless stream of customers at the cafe window.
She also faces difficulties in hiring staff. Currently, a friend and one of her cousins work in the cafe with her during the week, and her stepfather is the cook on the weekends.
“It can be difficult to find workers,” she said. “No one cares more about your business than you do. “
Companies supporting the young entrepreneur
Despite the challenges, Collins-Macedo said she has received a lot of community support, especially from other small business owners impressed with her relatively young age. Central Bakery in Tiverton donated 300 Port Muffins, Fall River’s Custom Threads gave it a discount on branded t-shirts and a local graphic designer, Dan Bigelow, gave it a discount on design work.
“They all wanted me to be successful,” she said.
Since the location of the cafe at the marina is seasonal, Collins-Macedo will return to study at the university later this year. But if her business is doing very well, she plans to find a new location that can be open year round and move to a college closer to her home so she can run it, she said.
But for now, she’s enjoying her place in Narragansett Bay.
“It’s such a positive environment here, especially on the weekends,” she said.
You can reach Audrey Cooney at [email protected]. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.