***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, small business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.
I love how Stonefruit Espresso + Kitchen has brought light and wholesome deliciousness to a sad, lonely corner of Clifton and Bedford and want everyone to get their yummy on, too. But first! Read the story of how Stonefruit came to be and what owner Laura Sorenson has planned for her customers and neighbors.
Name: Laura Sorensen
Business Name: Stonefruit Espresso + Kitchen
Open date: May 1, 2015
Life Motto: Life’s too short.
Describe your journey from the beauty industry to the food industry.
I was fortunate to work with some inspiring brands in the beauty industry, and I felt driven to create my own brand around something that fed my soul a bit more than beauty. I love the simplicity of great food and good friends in a beautiful environment, and doing everything in a responsible way for the earth and the community. I wanted to provide a fresh space where Brooklynites could reconnect with themselves or others over organic, whole, clean, delicious food and drink. I learned so much about business, marketing, aesthetics, training, and communication in the beauty industry— knowledge that would bolster my passion and research in the coffeeshop world.
What are the loves and challenges about owning a business?
Love: getting to know the vibrant BedStuy community— Stonefruit’s customers are almost all regulars, and it’s been so much fun to develop relationships with them. Challenges: Turning the worry off. Having everything ultimately on my shoulders makes it difficult for me to turn off the part of my brain that is analyzing, planning, and preparing, or doing so without feeling guilty about it.
What are your go-to resources for managing your business?
Friends and acquaintances in the industry, and my second-in-command, Head Chef Miri Jung. As far as actual tools, I love using Square, Zen Payroll, and the ubiquitous QuickBooks of course.
Can you share any details on the Stonefruit Book Club?
We’ll be discussing Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Tuesday, July 28th at 7pm, followed by a discussion of Harper Lee’s most recent ‘Go Set a Watchman’ on Tuesday, August 25th at 7pm. I’m expecting a very spirited discussion!
Any other special events planned?
The Pow Wow will be hosting a Full Moon Carnival at Stonefruit on Saturday, August 1st, 11am-6pm! They’re organizing a pop-up barbershop, tarot card reading, games, live music, art exhibition and sales, and more! Accompanied by special Stonefruit treats, of course!
It’s summer 2016 and what would you love the Stonefruit story to be.
I can’t wait to find the right partner to fill out the rear of Stonefruit— I’m subletting a beautiful, light-filled 700 sq. ft. space behind the cafe, with a separate entrance, and I know by summer of 2016 I’m going to have an inspiring partner back there. I’d love to be able to set up a strong calendar of community events, have a gorgeous sidewalk cafe space available to customers, a full-fledged herb garden, and some catering for our baked goods business!
Shout-out time! This is your chance to spotlight your collaborators and community. Don’t be shy.
If you haven’t tried She Wolf sourdough yet, it’s the base of our famous Avocado Smash. It’s incredibly flavorful, and its long fermentation time makes the bread more digestible and nutritious. I also adore the produce I pick up every week from Conuco Farm at the Fort Greene greenmarket. Sometimes nothing is more thrilling than a gorgeous leaf of purple kale, you know? They also have an inspiring herb collection, and Hector, the farmer behind everything, is incredibly kind, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Photographs by Nick Stone, courtesy of Stonefruit.