HUGHESVILLE - It's long been known that most small businesses fail - many of them within the first year of their start-up.
Two years ago, Matt Yeager decided to defy the odds with his opening of Not Just a Bean, a coffee shop-restaurant at 24 N. Main St.
"It's been challenging," he said recently, while working the counter of the business one recent late morning.
Two customers sit and chat at Not Just a Bean, a coffee shop on Main Street in Hughesville that has seen ups and downs since opening about two years ago.
Even if his shop was not a beehive of activity, Yeager was busy.
"I'm in here 80 hours a week," he said.
It's just a fact of life when you're the business owner with just one other employee on hand to help out.
Nearby, a pair of women sat at a table enjoying an early lunch.
Two other women were at another table with a laptop.
At the counter, a middle-aged male customer was settled before a cup of coffee.
Yeager, by his own admission, fled corporate America to open this shop sitting smack dab in the middle of Hughesville.
He started the place in 2010 with the idea of serving up coffee, cappuccino and latte to the locals.
But it's grown beyond that.
Customer demand, he explained, eventually had him serving up sandwiches, bagels, soups and other food.
Indeed, with its wood floors, artsy wall decor, the shop carries a slightly funky, coffee shop atmosphere where friends gather and talk the issues of the day.
And that's fine with Yeager.
He likes the idea of Not Just a Bean as a community gathering spot.
It's not likely Yeager will become rich anytime soon.
Like any business owner, he looks for ways to improve.
Most recently, he held a Halloween party there featuring local comedian Jimmy Bodnar. And there are the open mic nights.
He can't afford to advertise much, depending instead on word of mouth and good service, food, and his hot and cold beverages.
With a small budget, he needs his three teenage sons to help out.
"It's truly a family-run business," he said. "There's not even one bit of corporate America in this place."
He's grateful for returning patrons, a steady customer base that he estimated comprises about 70 percent of his business.
By his own admission, he was "pretty worried" earlier this year.
With summer came a big drop in business.
He sold a lot of coffee, but there just weren't as many people coming into the place.
But with the fall months, things picked up.
And so it goes with a small business.
Trish Kepner and Deb Currinder, both of Hughesville, are among the occasional customers of the business.
The two, who work at nearby Lycoming Career and Technology Center, say they enjoy the atmosphere and the food there.
Not Just a Bean is open seven days a week.
If you stop in, you're likely to find Yeager around.
After all, it's a small business, and those kind of enterprises require the proprietor to be there - a lot.
Or, as Yeager put it: "It becomes your second spouse."