By Amanda Lehnerd
Josh Langenheim, owner of Stone Fruit Coffee and a YSU alumni, created Stone Fruit based on a hobby rooted in the culture and City of Youngstown.
“This is a hobby that has gone wildly out of control that started in my garage with a tiny coffee roaster,” Langenheim said. “I grew up in Youngstown, and it didn’t make sense to move. I wanted to keep things local, and we’re very involved in the Youngstown lifestyle.”
Langenheim believes in keeping the company local, which also includes selling local vendors products.
“We only deal with local businesses. We get our candles from 1820 House Candles, our biscotti is from a local artisan called Brown Box Biscotti and the clothing we sell is Flight School Apparel,” Langenheim said. “Everything we do is Youngstown related; all consumables are in-house.”
One thing that differentiates Stone Fruit from competitors is the large focus that is put on the end product.
“We roast our own coffee, and I think it is important for people to know where their coffee is coming from,” Langenheim said. “If you ask me where our coffee comes from, I will tell you to come to Boardman. I’ll show you the raw product, how I cook it, cool it, grind it and deliver it.”
Stone Fruit started their business in Canfield. The main goal was always to reach Youngstown.
“We started the business in Canfield, and it was our launch pad. We moved to Boardman for the space to produce our coffee, and we closed Canfield,” Langenheim said. “Youngtown is where we are finally able to do what we always wanted to do.”
The new location will feature the same design concept and aesthetic as the other locations, but with a twist.
Christian Powers, an employee at Stone Fruit Coffee and a local artist, is painting a mural on the side of the new location in Youngstown.
“The mural will represent Stone Fruit. It will have a coffee plant, some lattes with latte art and at the top will be a skyline of Youngstown,” Powers said. “It will read ‘Youngstown Proud’ paying homage to Youngstown.”
Along with being a Youngstown-oriented business, Stone Fruit plans to be involved with YSU and its students.
“I want to be a part of programs. Whatever services we can get help with, we want to,” Langenheim said. “We want to be involved, and we want to teach you.”
Stone Fruit has already started talking with some of the professors in the Williamson College of Business Administration about creating a lesson where students can learn marketing strategies firsthand.
“We are planning to work with a professor at the university, who teaches Business Management Concepts,” Langenheim said. “The students will come to our business, and we will go over marketing strategies, the way we run our social media and give a real life example of how we run our business.”
With the growing popularity of Stone Fruit in the Youngstown area, students are starting to become excited for the arrival of the new location.
Brianna Wall, an early childhood education major, is happy to see a trendy local business making its way to campus.
“I think there’s a shortage of ‘trendy’ spaces to study on campus with an inviting atmosphere,” Wall said. “The fact that Stone Fruit is so connected with Youngstown is a huge selling point for me. I think the quality of the coffee is great, plus I enjoy supporting local businesses.”
Langenheim says they are trying to beat the Lincoln construction, and be open and running in about 40 days.