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Small Business Spotlight

Did you "SHOP SMALL" on Saturday? ★★ Small Business Saturday is normally my Superbowl. It's the opportunity to show love to local businesses in lieu of chains on Black Friday. This year, a two-week-old baby boy kept me at home by the fire. So instead, I plan to "Shop Small" all year!

Time to come clean with you guys: I occasionally drink Starbucks. GASP! I hate it, and I hide it. (Literally in unmarked mugs in case I bump into one of you!) Here is where chain coffee-shops fall short, or flat haha.

  1. You won't bump into the best sorts of people. The types of people who invest in their community.

  2. The chain baristas may remember your name, but they won't care about your life chapters the way Ev at Rude Awakening does. ☺

  3. Five dollars will NOT buy you both a hot latte and a flaky fresh-baked breakfast croissant!

  4. Put your $$ where your mouth is! The employees of your local coffee shop and employees of the businesses they source food from, all need your support to grow.

  5. SNOOZEFEST! Who wants the same thing every week? Half the fun of shopping local is business owners' ability to surprise their customers. Sourcing unique new snacks is one of Molly's talents.

Small Business Spotlight: Rude Awakening

Sitting down with Molly Arnold, owner of Rude Awakening Coffee House, was a bit intimidating. She has a sweet smile, and happy personality, but her reputation is nothing short of driven. It was a privilege to share a cup of coffee and hear her story... Molly begins, "It was a very different downtown 20 years ago. Banks had no faith, claiming downtown will never be anything. No damn it! Downtown deserves it! I felt so strongly that people were invested just as we were investing. The Rainbow Room and The Cameo to name a couple. How could it go wrong with people working so hard?"

"For the first five years, it was me behind the counter pulling shots." Like other small business owners, Molly invested all she could back into the business and renovation wasn't cheap. Molly reveals, "Our building was slotted to be condemned for a parking lot. My daughter was 17 at the time we bought the building for Rude, and she thought I was out of my mind! There was a foot of pigeon poop on the floor!"

As Molly looked for insight into how to run a coffee business, two shops took time to help her. "I was really grateful for that." Molly explains. Now she pays it forwards through her own sort of business incubator on Franklin Street. Molly invests in Downtown Fayetteville with not one business, but two of her own, and as an landlord for five others. "I could get more money for the rent, but I see a vision for dense, strong retail downtown.

Celebrity alert! Olivia Newton John and Rod Stewart have both walked through the purple doors of Rude. The very down-to-earth Molly is quick to mention, "To us everybody is dear!" It is clear, everyone is treated the same here. So many special connections are made at Rude Awakening. "I remember military guys went to war and came back. They showed us a picture of our shop remarking how it sustained them through hard times." The coffee at Rude Awakening is good, but the heart is great!

Photo magic by Jennifer Cochran Photography.

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