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Sisters open coffee shop in Lonepine


November 28, 2019

Miriah Kardelis

SISTERS Susanne Schmiedbauer (left) and Elsa Tunis operate Stomping Grounds Espresso along Highway 28 near the Lonepine General Store.

Located in Lonepine, just off of highway 28, sits a brand-new drive thru coffee stand, called Stomping Grounds Espresso. This coffee stand has only been running since last September, but is already loved by the locals. Co-owners and sisters Susanne Schmiedbauer and Elsa Tunis call this area home. As Hot Springs graduates, the sisters wanted to bring their love and passion for coffee to the locals, and the place they grew up.

While Schmiedbauer and Tunis both have barista backgrounds, it was Schmiedbauer in particular who was looking to begin a new chapter in her career. "I decided I needed to try and figure out a different means of life, so I could be around my kids more," Schmiedbauer stated. "I, of course, was all for it," Tunis responded.

What started out as a bare flatbed trailer, was soon transformed into a fully functional coffee stand. With the help of their father, the duo wanted the capability of being mobile, in order to travel and attend events around the area. Facing the trial and error of building a coffee stand from the ground up and the setback of their first espresso machine not working, along with the hardships that come with running a business in such a rural area, the co-owners both feel the opening of their new business has been a success.

"It all took a while to put together, especially being so rural. I don't think people had any idea what it took to build all of this," Schmiedbauer said. Coincidentally, "from the ground up" was in the running as a possible business name.

The coffee stand, which sits next door to the Lonepine General Store, has felt nothing but neighborly love on their end.

"We love being here, we went to the Lonepine store when we were kids, we're so happy they re-opened," Tunis said. When asked whether they see more business from locals or from people passing through, both replied, "locals."

Tunis continued by saying, "Lonepine is a bigger community than people realize, and they have been awesome. We are seeing new faces all the time and because of that, a steady incline of business. We do see quite a bit of tourism, too."

While they are still figuring out what hours work best for their customers, they have noted that the hunters this time of year would like them to be open a little earlier. They plan on implementing earlier hours next year.

The duo has been trying to find a way to be more clearly seen from Highway 28. With that minor setback, a stop at Stoming Grounds will show you the dedication and commitment that has gone into the quality of each drink that is handed out the window.

"We really put a lot of time and effort into pouring the correct shot," Schmiedbauer expressed. Tunis added, "We care about the quality of the coffee itself. Coffee is a science and people may not realize that. If a bad shot is poured, it's not going into that drink. We dump it out until we get it right."

Stomping Grounds carries two different brands of coffee. The first is a house blend that they created themselves after much research and testing. The second brand of coffee they carry is from an establishment called Black Rifle Coffee Company, which is veteran owned and operated. The inspiration to carry this specific brand came from their brother, a Vietnam veteran.

"We just thought if we could do anything to support the veterans we would," Schmiedbauer said of the Black Rifle brand. That support from Stomping Grounds Espresso is continued by offering a discount to all veterans. They also offer a $1 drip coffee of any size to all law enforcement officers.

What seems to be their best-selling drink thus far is the caramel macchiato.

"I believe coffee is better for you than any other form of caffeine out there. We sell almost every version of drinks that you can find at bigger chains," Tunis said. Because of their desire to keep coffee traditional, you won't find any green or white coffee beans in this coffee stand.

"We are trying to bring the beauty back to traditional coffee. We want to keep it simple, but still offer a good product," stated Schmiedbauer. "We are very family and community oriented. Our support for vets and the local community is what sets us apart. We are very proud of our drinks, and what we are giving out to our customers."

Miriah Kardelis

HIGHWAY 28 STOP - Stomping Grounds coffee shop, located near Lonepine General Store, opened in September and offers a variety of espresso beverages and is open seven days a week.

Tunis continued by saying, "We also love feedback. Tell us if you don't like your drink, or if it's not what you were expecting, and we will be more than happy to remake it."

Stomping Grounds offers drink specials Monday through Friday, and those specials can be found on the company's Facebook page. They are currently offering blue raspberry whipped cream free on any drink in honor of men's health for November.

The shop also offers bagels and cream cheese, muffins, biscotti and chocolate covered espresso beans for any snacking needs you may have. They also offer gift certificates, as well as a loyalty punch card. Schmiedbauer and Tunis are working on logo cups they would eventually like to offer to the public. Right now, winters hours for Stomping Grounds are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Check out their Facebook page to keep up on the progress of this new local coffee stand.


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