I (Amy) have always been fascinated by history and stories from the past and lately have been looking a bit more into our own family history of entrepreneurship. The scale in this photo is from our great-grandmother Anne Stella's grocery store in Chicago which she owned with her father Frank Stella (an Italian immigrant who also owned a milk delivery business) in 1907 when she was just 17. She managed it until the late 20's until, as the family legend goes, she refused to pay protection to the Mob after her father died, eventually standing up to Al Capone himself in her shop with my grandfather watching from the back of the shop. She moved to California on her own with two small children, leaving everything behind, and opened a deli in Oakland (running it successfully through the Depression without going bankrupt), which happened to be next door to our other great-grandmother's bakery leading to the meeting of our paternal grandparents! One set of great-grandparents went on to buy a ranch and develop one of the commercial trout farms in California and our maternal great-grandfather also owned a famous butcher shop called Butcher Boy in Laguna Beach for many many years. Another set of great-great grandparents apparently owned a ship and sailed around the world collecting items for their second-hand and antique shop in New York. One of our great-grandmothers paid her way through school by baking cupcakes and bread and taking them to a neighbouring campground to sell during the summers.
I find this history full of inspiring examples of grit, ingenuity, creativity and commitment that entrepreneurship requires. Though the times were different, the belief is the same - that building a business can be a path forward to prosperity for our families and for our communities, and that it is the right thing to do to use our gifts and talents to contribute what we can to our local economies.
It is this same belief that inspires the farmers we purchase from, that inspires the entrepreneurs who produce coffee and jam and bread and that inspires our business.
I hope that you know how much we appreciate your choice to support a local business. It matters to us, it matters to our farmers and it matters to our community and you matter to us so very much.
Amy + Jenny