#Hashtag: unique desserts, coffee
Offering secluded booths with the perfect amount of privacy and outlets, televisions playing “The Office,” and different Asian desserts is a new coffee shop positioned across the street from the University of Central Oklahoma.
According to 26-year-old owner, D.K. Ko, Hashtag has been opened for the last month and has received positive and negative feedback.
“We have good and bad response but mostly good … The only bad response we get is just because we’re so unique and I guess some people are just thrown off by the uniqueness of it,” Ko said.
Hashtag is a coffee shop that serves typical caffeinated beverages, Ko said, but its food options are special.
“Our menus are just so unique. The coffees are something you can find anywhere but the treats that we sell are separate from the coffee. They’re so unique you can’t find them anywhere in Oklahoma,” Ko said.
When he initially thought of the concept for Hashtag Ko said he wanted to produce a place suited for Edmond’s younger population.
“The atmosphere I wanted to create was a place where students, especially since we’re right next to UCO, where they or students from the (high schools), can come in with their homework and sit here for a few hours without having to worry about us kicking them out,” Ko said.
Ko said before Hashtag he owned doughnut shops but wanted to do something more trendy and fused the Asian dessert element with the coffee shop idea.
“I actually owned previous businesses before but I wanted to do more (of) a daytime thing. I actually went and learned how to make coffee so I knew how to do all the coffee stuff … ,” Ko said.
In addition to Ko’s Hashtag location at 1102 E 2nd St., there will be another Hashtag on Santa Fe, which according to Ko, opens in about a month.
Ko said it is owned by a family friend but it’s the same concept with the same drinks and menus Ko created.
“It’s another owner that came along while I was making the concept and they wanted in on it,” Ko said.
The planning and creation of Hashtag took six months Ko said and it was a longer process than he would have thought.
“I used to own doughnut shops and those only took three months at the longest so that’s what I was already used to …,” Ko said.
Ko said the location of his Hashtag was extremely important because he wanted to be near UCO.
For Ko one of the best aspects of owning Hashtag are the relationships he has and hopes to form with customers.
“It’s always like that with any new business just meeting new people, seeing their reactions (and) getting feedback from people,” Ko said.
Ko said, however it has been challenging actually getting a steady flow of people into Hashtag.
“(The hardest thing is) getting people inside the door or explaining our concept to people because a lot of people are still confused about our concept,” Ko said.
While it has been difficult for Ko to gain new customers he said people always seem intrigued and part of it is the name.
“I kind of chose Hashtag because it was something easy and familiar and so I’m trying to get our brand to where people automatically know what we sell and they don’t have to (say) ‘Let’s go to Hashtag Coffee,” Ko said
In addition to his pastry menu, Ko said Hashtag offers a friendly and welcoming environment where people are encouraged to remain even if Hashtag is about to close for the day.
“I feel like all the other coffee shops around here, they’re not as big as (Hashtag) so everybody’s crammed into one spot. They feel pressured to leave,” Ko said.
Ko’s parents came to America from South Korea and he grew up in Texas. He was in the process of earning a degree in architecture at the University of Texas, but decided to move to Oklahoma shortly after his parents relocated.
“I came up here to take a break from school because it was so much working full time and going to school,” Ko said. “I actually liked the slow life here.”
Although he never received an official college degree or had any business education, Ko said he learned from his parents, who owned several businesses when he was growing up.
Ko said he is looking forward to the UCO semester starting and providing a space for students to feel comfortable and welcome as they do their homework.