In February of 2006, Philip and Shanna Mastrangelo exchanged marriage vows [barefoot] at sunset on a beach in Hawaii. As they honeymooned on the rural island of Kauai, taking in sunsets from black sand beaches, exploring the earthy canyons of Waimea, discovering a surreal solitary beach on the Na Pali coast, investigating farmers markets, making friends with locals, and witnessing the simplified success of Tropical Taco. It was during one of those sunset conversations from the beach near their plantation cottage that Philip first proposed the idea of opening up a public establishment that would somehow allow them to distribute that same laid back island vibe that they could never live without again. Now, at first, Shanna didn't take the idea very seriously. "A juice bar/smoothie shop?" I mean, they dug the idea...but would enough other people feel the same? As they boarded their flights home, they took one last deep breath, taking in the overwhelming aroma of falling plumeria and they knew that one day they would share the love and energy they gathered there.
After coming home they fell back into the routines of life for a while. They worked and worked. They had another baby : ) They looked for opportunities... They looked for signs. Then one day, from the window of Stone Soup Bistro, they spied the tiny little building across the street. "Is that salon still open?... I never see them open.." A few days later, a FOR RENT sign appeared in the window. Phil took down the info and called the landlord. But alas, the landlord didn't want any old food establishment in there...the mess...the greasy smells...he didn't want it. Phil tried to clarify what type of business we wanted to open...bt it didn't fly. Disappointment ensued. "Phil, it it's meant to be, it will be. If we get bummed out, it won't change anything", Shanna said. A week and half later...the land lord called back. "You say it's healthy stuff...drinks mostly? I'm planning on opening a bicycle shop and the more I think about it, it might actually work nicely with what I'm doing...if you're still interested." Our hearts raced! We we still interested. They withdrew the rest of the money from their checking account a few days later to pay for the security deposit and first months rent. It was scary to say the least. Never once did they sit down and consider that they couldn't "get open". They got an income tax return shortly after (they were banking on that return!) and spent the entire check on equipment, supplies, licenses, and permits.
On the morning of April 9th, 2007 they arose before the sun and make the commute down to Shepherdstown. They had no money in their savings account, 79 cents in their checking... and they wrote just under $250.00 dollars in checks that morning to cover their produce deliveries. Greg and Liz from Stone Soup Bistro lended them $50 to put in their empty register so they could make change for customers. "Do you think anyone will come?" they said playfully to one another, "If not, we're going to have a whole bunch of overdraft fees!". Cheryl and Martin Gallery, dear friends of the Mastrangelo family, arrived more than 30 minutes before they were ready to open the doors just to ensure that they would be the very first customers : ) During that first day, they fumbled, they stumbled, and they even stuttered a few times. But they go the orders out! The majority of those orders went to friends and family members who just wanted to help out and show their support. But they got a few real customers that they didn't know! At the end of the day, they counted their register...and drove directly to the bank to depost the $260.00 they made....just enough to cover the checks they had already written!
In the past three [...seven] years, they have made it their goal to provide quick, healthy, affordable food for the people of Shepherdstown and the surrounding areas while also trying to create an earthy mellow atmosphere. They have focused on becoming more and more friendly to our one and only Earth while supporting local famers and community members. They have watched shy employees blossom into wonderful competent individuals. They have expanded and refined their menu over and over again.