ENID, Okla. — A coffee-making couple originally from Seattle are planning to ship the Pacific Northwest’s famous taste profile to Enid.

Enid residents Jason and Shawna Twyman were awarded thousands in startup funds Friday in a local business model competition for their proposal to operate their coffee company, Waymaker Coffee Company, out of a shipping container building.

The building, already constructed with overhead lighting, would be located near Autry Technology Center, whose Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition awarded the Twymans a total $10,500 for their first-place award.

“Our beans come from the Pacific Northwest,” Jason said. “Our roaster is working on our own flavor profile.”

Second place, with $5,000, was awarded to Enid Axe, owned by Lafe Coldwater, Jen Taylor and Denise Eckert; third place, with $3,000, went to Jerren’s Jerky, by Jaren and Lester Browne; and fourth, with $1,500, to Itinerant Immersive, owned by Ben Ezzell.

The top three winners will receive one year of coworking space at the Strate Center, Autry’s business incubator site for startups and entrepreneurs.

Itinerant Immersive founder Ezzell said his new business will travel with an immersive art installation already under construction at his nonprofit space, Atelier.

Ezzell and his team of artists — several of whom worked together on the recent Sugar High art project — will open a 16-by-80-foot single-wide manufactured home with an undisclosed art project first in Enid, then travel with the project city by city throughout the region.

“It’s going to be quite the piece of art,” Ezzell said.

Over $30,000 was awarded through this year’s competition, and more than $100,000 has been since its start in 2012, Autry Corporate Training Specialist Meredith Westfahl said.

Businesses interested in entering must be less than five years old to be eligible and preference may be shown to businesses operating in the Enid and Northwest Oklahoma trade area.

The competition consists of three phases: submission of a business plan, a 15-minute oral presentation and a third presentation in front of a judging panel.

“We evaluate the vision that they bring to us in the business plan,” judge Todd Earl said. “We look for what is unique, what brings something new to our community, what will be the most financially viable and sustainable, as well as the quality of the presentation.”

Competitors were asked to submit a business plan reviewed by a team of judges, then eight semi-finalists were chosen. The top four models are selected and must present their commercial to competition judges. The business with the best commercial also could win the People’s Choice Award.

Article & Photo by: Kat Jeanne, Enid News & Eagle 6.19.22