Downtown coffee shop Urban Stampede has been sold, and the new ownership group intends to carry on the shop’s long-running tradition.
Long-time business partners Jonathan Holth and Shawn Clapp, along with Justin Auch, took over the business on May 18, from original owners Kelly Thompson and Patti Eider, who founded the shop in 1993. The coffee shop remains closed for the moment, as the ownership trio assesses the implications of taking over a business during the coronavirus pandemic, though Holth told the Herald on Tuesday it is possible there will be a reopening in the coming weeks.
The ownership group intends to remain true to the coffee shop’s roots, while seeking ways to innovate.
“We want to put our own little stamp on things, but we want to be really respectful of all the great things that people love about the Urban and making sure that we're not changing those things,” Holth said. “The vibes and the little the nooks and everything that make it so great, those things are all staying,”
Together, Holth and Clapp own the Toasted Frog restaurants in downtown Grand Forks and throughout the state and bring several years of food-service experience to the table.
Auch is the director of business development at Also Creative Inc., a downtown-based custom software development and consulting company. Auch told the Herald he has been a customer at the Urban Stampede “every weekday for the last 10 years” and wants to be involved to help maintain the business -- and provide a way to help the shop into the future, as the region faces the pandemic.
“I think we're definitely going to have to implement online ordering, maybe a mobile application of some kind; just kind of modernize the process,” Auch said.
Thompson told the Herald he feels confident about the new owners because of their business experience and dedication to downtown Grand Forks. Though continuing the shop in its current form was not a condition of the sale, Thompson told the Herald on May 4, his preference was to find a new owner who would do just that, which seems to make Holth, Clapp and Auch a good fit.
“They want to preserve the Urban as it is, (that) was a big motivator for me,” Auch said.
Long-time customer Auch said he was initially approached by Thompson, to see if he was interested in the business, but expressed doubt, as he doesn’t have experience in the restaurant industry. A subsequent message from Holth changed that.
“The next morning, I got a text from Holth, saying, ‘Hey let's buy the Urban,’ and then that kind of put all of my reservations aside, because the owner of the Toasted Frog clearly knows what he's doing," Auch said.