Spending 15 years in the hustle and bustle of the finance industry in New York City taught Eun Cho ‘03 a bit about coffee — and not just from drinking it every day.
It was there he built upon the foundation established during his undergraduate education at Jacksonville University, preparing him to become co-founder of Haymaker Coffee. Cho participated in the five-year combined plan program, which for him, included three years at JU completing a degree in engineering physics and philosophy and two years at Columbia University in New York majoring in operations research. His dual degree, plus a minor in philosophy, set him apart from other applicants, and landed him his first finance job in New York City.
“Once I was in the job, I was able to work on complex financial models and had the proficiency to effectively communicate those models and my thoughts,” Cho said. “That helped me advance in my career quickly. As I pivoted to coffee, I’m using the same skill set that helped me in my previous career.”
He and two partners, all three Jacksonville natives, started Haymaker Coffee in 2020. They saw a gap in the market for coffee that “fuels the people who persevere, who hustle and who have the give-it-your-all mentality,” Cho said.
Given his former career in finance, Cho places high priority on analyzing market and customer data to fuel the company’s growth. And tapping into the Jacksonville market and utilizing Jacksonville University’s alumni network has been invaluable, he said.
“I want Haymaker Coffee to be the coffee for hard-working people,” he said. “Haymaker must consistently deliver a great cup of coffee and let our customers know that the people behind the coffee work as hard as they do. It has the potential to be the next big thing coming out of Jacksonville. Hopefully, down the road, it can become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.”