May 16, 2018
Small Business Stories: River Roasters
In our “Small Business Stories” series, we hit the road to interview small business owners about their unique journeys. Each story provides inspiration and insights while shining a spotlight on the passionate small business owners who are so critical to our economies and our communities.
Kathy Stone has lived in Florence, Oregon most of her life. When her dad moved the family there in 1949, he became well involved in the community, owning various stores and helping to start a bank. His love for community rubbed off on Kathy and her siblings.
As a stay at home moms, Kathy and her friends would get together for their “therapy” sessions at the local coffee shop, River Roasters, while their kids were at school. Each visit, the shop captured her heart and she always thought it’d be fun to have her own coffee shop one day. When her last child was going off to college and she was preparing for an empty nest, she found out the owner of her favorite coffee shop had put it up for sale. Without much thought needed, she decided to purchase River Roasters.
Being thrown into an already established business was not easy. Kathy was afraid to make too many changes because many of the customers had been going there forever and she didn’t want to mess anything up. After someone from a roasting company in Portland came into her shop and assisted with making the coffee even better, she realized change was a good thing. She decided to take classes to learn about her roaster and ended up educating herself on the business.
For Kathy, the best and most surprising part of the business is the community that develops inside of the coffee shop. Many of her customers were regulars coming in each week, and that made her realize she wanted to create a place where they would feel valued. That’s why her team makes sure to greet customers by name and ask them more about themselves to make them feel special and part of the River Roasters community.