Over the last three years Stone Bru has made a name for itself with quality products and service and is now the people’s choice for best coffee in Siouxland.
Started by Brad Lepper, Robbie Jennings and Jeff Boonstra, the business has demonstrated there is plenty of room for expansion. After their first location on Gordon Drive took off, they decided to open a new location in Dakota Dunes. They even recently opened a location at Vern Eide Honda on Singing Hills Boulevard.
The Weekender sat down with Lepper to talk about Sioux City’s favorite place to go for a cup o’ joe.
Why do you think Stone Bru stands out from all the other coffee shops in the area?
Lepper: “We just really focus on trying to provide freshly roasted local coffee. There’s also customer service. There are two things you want primarily out of a food and beverage business. You want a good quality beverage and you want the people to make you feel welcome and appreciated while you are there. A lot of the other things can be corrected or played with, but if you don’t have a good product or nice people, you can’t overcome that.
We hear you are about to start roasting your own beans. Where will the roasting happen and why decide to do this now?
Lepper: “We leased a small space behind Hope Springs Church on Wesley and West Seventh. It’s a cool-looking old warehouse. We’ll be starting our roasting operation there. It’s the natural progression of having a coffee shop. Once you reach a certain volume of beans that you are brewing, it just makes sense when it comes to the dollars and cents. It also gives us more options of where we source our beans. We can offer more variations within our bean line. Also, it will create some fun customer experiences if we start offering roasting classes.
This was a community vote. What does this win mean to you?
Lepper: “We couldn’t have done this without our customers who loyally come here every day. I credit the win to them. This is an indicator that we are hitting the targets that we are setting out for. This is a deeper conversation, but philosophically to me, I love business. I love the reality of the market. You can’t fake it…either it is or it isn’t. You might think your product is amazing, but if the market tells you it’s not, you’ve got to look in the mirror and say that something is wrong and adjust. This is a good indicator that we are headed in the right direction.”
Where do you see your company in 10 years?
Lepper: “Hopefully making and roasting really good coffee and creating opportunities for our employees within their careers, improving the quality of their lives while providing a high quality product and experience for our customers. We can achieve all of those goals, and size is not necessarily a factor, but as we hit these goals we will be growing.”