The Farmhaus Coffee Co. might be ringing in its one year anniversary this winter, but its roots and connections to Waynesboro run much deeper.
“We knew we wanted to be a coffee shop that functioned as a gathering place,” says Bethany Mallory, who co-owns the business with her husband Aaron.
As Bethany and Aaron dreamed up plans to open their own business, they did so from their home in the Waynesboro Tree Streets mere blocks away from their business’s eventual home.
“This space is our neighborhood,” she says. “Our customers are our neighbors — they’ve even walked by us mowing our grass. Living here for six or seven years before opening really helped us know what Waynesboro needed and wanted in a gathering place. We have made dear, dear friends here.”
Quality Meets Curation
If connection to community has been one cornerstone of the Farmhaus, discerning curation has been the other — of excellent coffee, of real food ingredients, of an interior space designed to feel welcoming and joyful.
At every stage of their business development, the Mallorys have been focused and intentional. “We wanted to do everything we do extremely well, rather than bite off more than we can chew,” says Aaron. For the Farmhaus, that’s meant focusing on a single coffee roaster, Blanchard’s, who could help train new baristas, allow the shop to test new products, and get to know the Farmhaus’ location, staff, and ethos. It has also included focusing on signature menu items, seasonal dishes, and “products we can 100% stand behind.” From fresh local bread, fresh local honey, granola made by one of Farmhaus’ employees, to photo albums on the bookshelves of their coffee suppliers’ trip to Nicaraguan coffee farms, a sense of visible connection runs throughout the Farmhaus supply chains.
People, as customers, suppliers, partners, and reviewers, have always been central to the Farmhaus vision. From inception to its one year anniversary, their marketing budget has remained a stable $0, relying instead on word of mouth and community excitement. Speaking on their outreach philosophy, Aaron says “It’s not build it and they will come. It’s treat people well, and they will tell their friends.”
Advice for Fellow Entrepreneurs
Bethany and Aaron co-own both the Farmhaus Coffee Co. and a full-time wedding photography business, so entrepreneurship is a central part of their lives, partnership, marriage, and outlook. Advice for fellow entrepreneurs flows freely, and comes obviously from a place of groundedness and connection:
Know Your Community. “Demographics and market analysis, sure,” says Bethany. “But also, you have to know your customers personally. It is the people who truly loved us, who carried us in our early opening months.”
Social Media is Part of Today’s World. One of the Farmhaus’ first outreach activities was a video interview with Bethany and Aaron talking about their hopes and vision for the store. The video went viral and was seen more than 20,000 times. “People were excited to see our faces,” says Bethany. “A younger demographic responded. Young folks came out of the woodwork.” Through outreach on Kickstarter and personal appeals, community members became invested in the ideas and success of the Farmhaus Coffee Co.
Customer Service is King. Repeat customers, supportive fans, and a community of customers who share growing relationships with the Farmhaus staff continue to drive the culture and feel of the store.
“We’ve seen pastors prepare sermons here, nursing students studying for their final exams,” recounts Bethany. “Businesses have been started at these tables. This place feels safe and comfortable enough, and that’s so important to us.”
As she chats, an employee scoops up a customer’s new baby, who coos with delight to see her. “This place is filled with memories and meaning,” says Bethany.
For more information about the Farmhaus Coffee Co., check them out at www.farmhauscoffee.co. To read more stories about the entrepreneurs and businesses that are shaping and creating Waynesboro’s local economy, check back often at www.growwaynesboro.com/meet-them.