Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Fox-Trautman.
Kristin, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Our vision for INSPIRE Community Café emerged from years of our core team dreaming and conversing together around the dining room table.
Motivated by our own experiences and those of people we know and love, we wanted to create a business with a mission to create meaningful living wage jobs, healthy and delicious food, and a gathering place for local change-makers to connect and collaborate for a more just and compassionate community.
While we were looking for the right location for our cafe, we launched a mobile cafe in the summer of 2017, and we had a blast getting our business off the ground, interacting with the community, and sharing some of our yummy food.
In December 2018, we opened our brick-n-mortar cafe in the Binghampton Gateway Shopping Center at Sam Cooper & Tillman. We love and respect the history and cultural diversity of the Binghampton neighborhood, and we are honored to have our business located here.
We were very intentional in designing our cafe space, aiming for it to be a comfortable, vibrant, and welcoming space for all people. We are also passionate about environmental sustainability, so we used repurposed wood throughout the space, and we built our own cafe tables from scratch with pallet wood.
We also designed our menu very thoughtfully, incorporating local ingredients when possible and offering a wide variety of healthy and delicious items that would appeal to a diverse group of people. We serve locally roasted coffee drinks, fresh-fruit smoothies, breakfast all day, quinoa/rice bowls, salads, quesadillas, homemade chili, and more. All of our food is made fresh and with lots of love!
We celebrated our first year of business right before the pandemic hit. Then we were quickly immersed in a long-haul journey of survival, striving to keep our new business afloat while maintaining our core values and our commitment to our staff.
With the support of our amazing customers and community, we have made it through the past two years and are slowly building back, with long-term goals of expanding our cafe space and catering business.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Founding and operating a small business is not for the faint of heart! It has definitely taken a great deal of grit and grinds to get the business off the ground and to keep it afloat during a worldwide 2-year pandemic.
During the pandemic, we were constantly striving to be nimble and to adjust our business model to fit the needs of our customers, our staff, and the public health regulations. For example, during the first year of COVID, we expanded our bulk-food preparation, taking online orders during the week for weekend pick-up.
This allowed us to meet our customer’s desires for easy, healthy meals for their families, while also creating a business model that allowed staff to be home with their school-age children during the week and earn income on the weekends.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Inspire Community Cafe?
We are a small business on a mission to nourish community change! We are committed to providing meaningful, living wage jobs, life-giving food, and a gathering space that connects and inspires people for the sake of a more just and compassionate Memphis.
When you walk into our cafe, we hope you feel the love and hospitality of our team members. You will likely be surprised to see how extensive our menu is for a small, local cafe. We serve breakfast all day, which is a treat for so many!
Our best-selling breakfast item is our breakfast quesadilla which is prepared with scrambled eggs, a four-cheese blend, and your choice of applewood bacon, turkey sausage, fresh tomato, spinach, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, housemade pineapple salsa, and sour cream.
For lunch, our best-selling item is our Costa Rican Black Bean & Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa bowl that you can top with fresh avocado and your choice of slow-cooked BBQ chicken or grilled chicken. We are proud to serve fresh fruit & veggie smoothies, with no added junk or sugar.
We have a full espresso/coffee bar and a housemade hibiscus tea made with pure cane sugar, clove, and cinnamon. And, those are just a few examples from our menu!
When our customers leave Inspire, we hope they feel nourished by our food, uplifted by our hospitality, and inspired to out into the world to make a positive difference.
What does success mean to you?
We are successful when our team members’ lives are continually enhanced by their meaningful, living wage employment.
When our customers’ lives are nourished by our healthy food & vibrant gathering space; and when both our team members and customers are better supported to go out into the world to make a positive impact in the lives of their families and communities.
- The large majority of our menu items are under $10
- Website: www.inspirecafememphis.com
- Instagram: @inspirecommunitycafe
- Facebook: Inspire Community Cafe
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/inspire-community-cafe-memphis-3