BENSON — During the week Todd Widseth gets up around 5 a.m. before making his way downstairs to the coffee shop — Go Set Ready Coffee, that he and his wife, Leslie, own on Church Street — to start preparing for the store’s standard 6:30 a.m. opening.

Some days a customer arrives around 6 a.m. and Todd has a dark roast coffee ready for him.

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From there, the day is a steady stream of people stopping in for a variety of drinks and conversation.

“It’s more than you walking in the door,” Todd said. “We’ve actually set up the business where it’s Leslie or I working in the front and somebody in the back making the drinks and you’ll have that five minutes of time to strike up that conversation. You can speak a lot of life into people in that little bit of span that you get to talk to them.”

In 2015, Todd and Leslie decided they wanted to get into the coffee business. After reading "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson, they both made dream boards to see what it was they wanted to do. Both of them wrote down "coffee," so they decided to do something about it.

Todd and Leslie Widseth started roasting coffee beans in 2015. Starting out with 250 pounds a month, they have since moved up to roasting 1800 a month and bought a shop in Benson.
Todd and Leslie Widseth started roasting coffee beans in 2015. Starting out with 250 pounds a month, they have since moved up to roasting 1800 a month and bought a shop in Benson.
At that point, Todd, a former aircraft mechanic, and Leslie, a former office manager, bought a roaster from Mill City Roasters in Minneapolis and Todd enrolled in classes to learn how to roast coffee.

The couple set up the roastery in their house for the first year, but when they got their beans into SuperValu, that had to change.

The Widseths set up shop at their location in Benson in February of 2016.

At the same time, the couple moved from about two miles out of town to live upstairs from the shop.

"I love it," Todd said, adding that, while the hours are long, he can't imagine working for someone else.

When they first started, Todd said, they were roasting about 250 pounds of beans a month. Five years later, that's increased to about 1,800 pounds a month.

And while the pandemic certainly had an effect on the economy, Go Set Ready was doing so well that the Widseths actually didn't qualify for any federal pandemic relief loans. It seemed to be a good problem to have, in their minds.

The shop currently has three employees in addition to Todd and Leslie, who often put their own twist on drinks.

Both Todd and Leslie said that God has played a big role in their success and, in fact, both of them prayed before buying their current building, asking for the building at half cost. A day later, without talking to the seller, they got an offer for just that.

"If you ask, we'll pray with you when you're here," Todd said. He said they try not to work on Sundays. "It doesn't always happen."

They both attend church at Assembly of God in Benson.

Looking to the future, Todd said the plan is to install a K-Cup machine at a cost of $20,000 to help make production more efficient. Right now, making the K-Cups is done by hand.

"It's really hard to bite the bullet on that," Todd said.

Todd also said they're thinking of putting in a drive-thru, but it's in the "dream phase" right now.

As for the Widseths themselves, after setting up their business, remodeling their upstairs apartment and moving out of their house, they have finally started to think about getting out and enjoying life, be it golfing, playing tennis or heading up to Baxter for the weekend.

"Now, we're somewhere in this kind of resting phase," Todd said, adding that there's always something to do at their business so it's important to take breaks when you can.

This story was originally published in the West Central Tribune's IMPACT edition on Oct. 23, 2021. More stories in this section can be found at https://issuu.com/westcentraltribune/docs/impact_2021