Daelynn Stock, just completing her first year at William Woods, still has three years of college before she will graduate in 2025 with a degree in American Sign Language (ASL)/Interpreting. But the Hermann, Missouri native has already graduated, in a sense, to the equivalent of an advanced course in business entrepreneurship.
Stock “took stock,” if you will, of the access members of the deaf community had to mobile coffee options in Fulton, and found it to be largely lacking. She knew that for deaf individuals, navigating traditional coffee venues can sometimes be difficult. So she came up with the idea of creating a mobile café that would be run out of a renovated horse trailer, as a way of meeting the need.
“With having the Missouri School For The Deaf in Fulton, there’s a large deaf community, and I would like to open doors of accessibility for them through my business,” Stock said.
But before actually converting her idea into an actual business, Stock decided to put her money-making coffee venture where her mouth was, so to speak, and enter it into a new young entrepreneurs contest. She learned about the first ever Show-Me Innovation Collegiate Pitch Competition on the Callaway County Chamber of Commerce website, and decided to take her shot.
“I entered the contest to gain exposure in the business world, and hopefully get some funding so I could continue my business venture,” she said.
With nine spots open for the April 26 competition to students from areas colleges, Stock certainly succeeded in her goal, finishing second. Her placement meant a prize of $1,000, which she will use to pay for signs and marketing material as she continues to renovate the horse trailer. Using the name Lady Dae’s, Stock plans to begin serving Missouri-made coffee, Lotus energy drinks and custom latte art later this year in Fulton.
The new business venture should fit nicely into Stock’s career goal of becoming an ASL interpreter, while serving a community need.
“I originally got involved with the deaf ministry at my church in my hometown, and just fell in love with it,” she said. “So I decided to pursue a degree in ASL Interpreting. After I open my mobile coffee trailer in Fulton, I plan to get my certification as an ASL Interpreter. Then, my schedule as an interpreter will provide me with the freedom to also run my business.”
Looks like Daelynn Stock already has it all figured out. As the old saying goes, “coffee is for closers,” and she has already proven at a young age she can do just that in her career.