MARIPOSA — About a month ago, things were a little bit up in the air. Now, Scott Marsh and his new partners in the downtown Mariposa edition of Slim’s Koffee Shak invite the community to a grand opening bash on Friday, June 24 from 7 – 9 p.m.
The evening celebrates the shop’s ribbon cutting with the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce and their new hours and location at 5053 Highway 140. The event will also feature a no-host beer and wine bar along with live music.
Back in May, a deal that Slim’s founder Scott was counting on fell through at the last minute, and it was looking like both locations (North Fork and Oakhurst) would be seriously affected by the fallout.
In a Sierra News Online story published on May 13, Scott said, “I have put all of my resources on the line over the past few months to ready the company for investment and expansion to our new Mariposa location. I’m not sure what to expect from here on out,” and announced in a post on social media that the shops were set to close. That story [Slim’s Expansion Deal Falls Through, Both Locations To Close] has since been read more than 4,000 times.
Within about 48 hours, Scott was negotiating a new deal with fresh investors, and now the fruits of that enterprise are ready for sharing. Adam Hildebrand and Diana Sherwood, both of North Fork, threw their hats into the Slim’s ring, as did Susanne Waite of Coarsegold. Together with Scott, the new foursome is ready to roll.
“It’s going to be cool with those three coming on board,” says Scott. “It adds that much more depth to the company and allows me — and the company as a whole — to start looking forward to doing more than I could as an individual. They are all pretty engaged in the process, and I’m feeling good about how it’s all working out.”
At about 1,400 square feet, the new place is larger than the Oakhurst location, with different rooms for different moods and purposes.
There’s a sun room, library, lounge and game room, where customers are welcome to make themselves comfortable, with WiFi included.
The property needed some work and the partners have made a point of hiring local Mariposa contractors whenever possible in order to build those important community relationships. Scott says the County has been cooperative and supportive of the endeavor.
“It’s been a great experience coming to Mariposa, and how helpful everyone is. Even random people are helping us, and pointing us in the right direction without us having to ask,” says Scott. “The new partners have taken a lot of pressure off the whole build-out just by stepping up and asking what they can do to help, whereas before I would have put it all on myself.”
Adam Hildebrand comes to the party with experience as both a licensed contractor and fine dining chef, so he’s been helping with the Mariposa build-out, says Scott. Adam and Diana Sherwood have been together for about 15 years. They met when both worked at The Pines Resort in food and beverage. Adam has been busy learning about all three restaurants and Diana has been hard at work on the interior decorating and exterior landscape.
“Things are going very well,” Adam agrees. “I’ve had an opportunity to put in hours working at the Oakhurst and North Fork locations. It’s everything I wished for and we’re enjoying working with the team members. Diana and I are both are excited to become a part of the Mariposa community. It’s a very cool little town, hip, with good people, and good restaurants. We’re looking forward to creating something cool there and to what the future brings.”
The couple has been searching online for just the right pieces to furnish Slim’s, and Adam has been making some table tops. While they both started out in food and bev, their careers have flourished in differing directions and now they’re circling back to their early passions.
“We’re having fun working together. The opportunity came up and we grabbed ahold of it,” Adam adds. “The timing is right and it looks like it’s going to work.”
Diana is also passionate about her job as Lifestyle Enrichment Director at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, a 26-acre senior community. With a background in event management, she has run restaurants and been involved with coffee shops. She also worked at The Pines for a dozen years.
Besides loving her job at San Joaquin Gardens, Diana points out, “I also love the community where I live.” She says she’s happy to lend support in all three of Slim’s locations as needed, and to be able to provide “beautiful organic food for the community.” The timing has worked out perfectly.
“Adam and I were getting ready to start our own business about a month before this opportunity came up. It all fell into place and we’re all on the same page. It’s a wonderful fit for us. I love food and I love coffee.”
She ‘s also a fan of decorating and landscaping, and says it’s been great to work within the Mariposa historic district guidelines.
“The thing is to stick with the traditional feel in Mariposa — with that vibe of the old days plus some elegance. It’s a little different visually than the Oakhurst and North Fork Slim’s– more old town traditional.”
Looking toward the opening, Diana says she anticipates the place will flourish.
“I believe in the team we have, and the work ethic and abilities. It’s a fun group and everyone has the same vision.”
Diana says Scott is really the main man, and Susanne Waite agrees with that. Susanne is a vice president and broker at Partners Specialty Group, and has been in the commercial insurance industry for over 28 years. She has worked in marketing, sales and management for national companies, and now brings some of her expertise and investment value to Slim’s.
“I decided to become a part of Slim’s because Scott has a solid vision of what Slim’s should be — healthy food and a great vibe in small communities that are often overlooked — and he truly cares about bringing quality food and beverages to our towns.” says Susanne, whose focus will be helping with the branding and marketing of Slim’s.
“But Scott gets all the credit. His vision, his dream and his work ethic made it happen. The more I learn about the business the more excited I become! Scott, and everyone who works at Slim’s, cares about bringing healthy options to our customers, and also being part of the community by helping others with whatever the need may be at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Scott has been hiring in Mariposa and says there are some cool new staff members coming on board, and some of the Oakhurst and North Fork employees are willing to make the drive over to help out with continuity, at least initially. The original owner and founder of Slim’s echoes the common sentiment that success is a group effort.
“This whole thing is a community venture,” says Scott, “there’s no way around it. It happened with the local news being there and following up [yeah SNO!], and with everyone that walked through our doors every day before and after that. It’s everybody local that keeps all this going. There is no outside money, and hopefully people know — Slim’s Koffee Shak is as homegrown as it gets.”
This article was updated on June 23 at 3:45 to reflect a no-host beer and wine bar.