Hemispheres Café Expands Brand with Assistance from TAMU-CC Business Innovation Center

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas–Building a business from the ground up is no easy task. It is especially difficult amid a global pandemic, but that is precisely what Dexter Rhines and Joel Torres did when they began dreaming up Hemispheres Café in the latter half of 2018. Since then, Hemispheres has partnered with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC) to grow their brand. Rhines and Torres say the knowledge and assistance gained from their partnership with CBBIC has helped their business reach new levels of success.

The two friends bonded during their time working for the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD). Both had an entrepreneurial spirit and individual side businesses but decided to go into business as a team. It did not take long for the duo to settle on coffee, a beverage that is a daily ritual for millions of people worldwide. 

“The name Hemispheres comes from the fact that we are so different,” Torres said. “We come from different backgrounds, but that allows us to see things from different perspectives, communicate our ideas, and come together on common ground.” 

In 2020, Rhines and Torres opened their first storefront within the Corpus Christi Athletic Club and expanded their coffee menu to include a range of health-minded products like shakes, smoothies, and snacks. In July 2021, when TAMU-CC began the process to solicit a local business to set up shop in the Dugan Wellness Center, Rhines and Torres jumped at the opportunity. The on-campus location gave Hemispheres an entirely different demographic to serve, and the co-owners further expanded their menu.

While drive and dedication brought Rhines and Torres a long way on their road to being successful entrepreneurs, the co-owners agreed that with a little bit of outside help, they could catalyze their business for additional growth. Through word of mouth, they discovered the CBBIC, and after exploring what the center offers, they realized the benefit of a partnership.

“As a small business owner, it’s easy to get wrapped up in day-in and day-out execution, and you sometimes don’t have time to be a visionary,” Rhines said. “Our talks with CBBIC staff and faculty have stimulated us to continue exploring new ideas, and we leave those meetings reinvigorated.”

Located just a few miles from the university’s main campus, the CBBIC provides various resources to start-ups and established businesses and gives business owners an infrastructure from which to grow. For new businesses without a dedicated workspace, the CBBIC can provide office space, conference space, and training rooms. Additionally, the center plugs business owners into an established network of local entrepreneurs and gives them access to valuable consultations on topics like general legal, accounting, and marketing.

Dr. Brian Tietje, Dean of the TAMU-CC College of Business and CBBIC Interim Director, says that CBBIC services are incredibly valuable not just to the entrepreneurs themselves but also to the local economic ecosystem.

“The CBBIC supports both entrepreneurship and innovation, which helps entrepreneurs launch start-ups and existing organizations enhance their innovative capabilities,” Tietje said. “Joel and Dexter are also incredibly eager to learn how to strengthen and build their business, which makes it so enjoyable to work with them and provide guidance and input. Hemispheres Café has an amazing brand story to share.”

Through their partnership with CBBIC, Hemispheres also gained the help of a TAMU-CC marketing intern, Allison Borrego ’22, who created an updated design and was able to assist in marketing their brand on various social media platforms.

“Throughout my time with the company, I’ve had the opportunity to improve my skillset in many different areas, such as graphic design, photography, media writing, and content creation,” Borrego said. “In addition, I’ve developed great relationships with Hemisphere’s owners and staff members, which I find has improved my ability to communicate, lead, and work alongside others.”

This summer, Hemispheres will open up its third location, which will be located on the south side of Corpus Christi.

“We are so thankful to all the staff at the CBBIC who have assisted us in creating something that was just a dream,” Rhines said. “We hope to keep growing and providing great products for our customers in the Corpus Christi area for years to come.”

For more information about how the CBBIC can help your small business flourish, visit cbbic.tamucc.edu.