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April 18, 2013

Kate Coy: Graduate Student, City Council Member, Business Owner and More

Oregon Law graduate student in Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CRES) Kate Coy has a lot on her plate. She recently wrapped up a prestigious internship with the Oregon State Legislature on the Business Committee, serves as the Ward IV representative on Cottage Grove’s city council, owns Anytime Fitness in Cottage Grove, and works toward finishing her CRES degree. Coy’s newest venture, opening a brewpub named Hard Knocks Brewing, supports her interest in keeping the Cottage Grove community economically vibrant. 

Coy’s motivation stems from her time working with the Peace Corps in Africa. Appreciating the United States' law-driven society, Coy decided to join the CRES program. “Many women in Africa were living off of pennies, yet they would come together to start their own business and do something meaningful,” said Coy. “I knew I wanted to find a way to learn more about what it means to live in a human-rights society.”

These epiphanies led her to business ownership. Already a member at the Anytime Fitness in Corvallis, the opportunity to own a franchise fell into her lap. People were skeptical of her opening the workout facility in Cottage Grove in 2009, during the height of the recession. “Some people thought I was crazy, there was no way I was going to succeed,” explained Coy. Her political aspirations, fitness appreciation and commercial training not only allowed her business to succeed but also gave her financial backing to put herself through the CRES program.

Next, Coy will open the first microbrewery in downtown Cottage Grove, Hard Knocks Brewing. “Microbreweries are definitely on the way up,” said Coy. “We drink more craft beer than any other state in the union, and you want people to get involved in the process.” The brewery will be a destination for meetings and conferences and hopefully one of the social centers of Cottage Grove. She plans to open the doors to Hard Knocks by the end of this summer.

Coy’s work in the CRES program continues to foster her success. Giving her the opportunities to intern with the United Nations and the Oregon State Legislature, Coy experiences the things she’s passionate about, and learns where community fits into that.

“I wanted to learn how to use the power of community to overcome conflict,” said Coy. “Death, taxes and conflict are the three things you are guaranteed to come across, and we have the tools to get rid of conflict.”

Working on the city council, Coy has conversations on difficult topics in a productive way. This work gives her the ability to transfer knowledge back to the community. She believes in being proactive and seeking out new businesses to grow Cottage Grove.

Coy’s advice for aspiring business owners? “Stop limiting yourself and coming up with reasons why you can’t do it. If you think you can succeed then you can, you just need to figure out how!”

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