NORTH FORK — Lisa Saroyan is the proud new owner of the Red Barn Coffee Co., a drive-though coffee stand located here in North Fork, CA. Lisa originally lived in Fresno but has always wanted to relocate to the area, so when she and her husband saw an opportunity to buy a house, they happily relocated to the area.
Lisa says it’s been her dream for years to open up her own coffee stand. She spent about nine months doing research on the area, including research on what it was that the locals themselves wanted from a coffee stand. She talked to friends in the industry, reached out to people who already owned several coffee shop stands, and thoroughly searched for nearby suppliers. Lisa says, “I opened the Red Barn Coffee Co. with the intention of making it work no matter what, even if I was the one who needed to work my previous job and at the Red Barn Coffee.”
Proudly describing her ‘ah-ha’ moment as an amazing experience; she realized she could make her dreams successful. She had the drive, and due to selling experience from her previous profession, she had the knowledge. She was also very business-oriented, and with this mindset, Lisa quit her job and focused on her success.
She attributes that success to her two amazing baristas, whom she describes as “…extremely hardworking. One barista was a manager at the highest-earning Dutch Brothers in Fresno and our other barista is incredibly hard-working and is amazing at mixing flavors and loves making latte art.”
Lisa communicates her gratitude towards the Madera County Fire Department and Madera County Department of Health, because “applying to open a business during COVID-19 is stressful enough, but to have them approve of my business and my opening date of Aug. 1, 2020, and approving everything in eight days, is incredible.”
Immediately she felt called to action in order to help her new community. She remembers how once the fires started and the evacuations began, how hard it was for her to see the cars of her regular customers coming down the hill with their fully-loaded trailers. Even so, you could still find her outside cheering as they drove past because it meant that they were safe from the fire.
Shortly afterwards, the Red Barn Coffee Co. was asked by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office to shutter its doors due to fire concerns. After shutting down the shop, Lisa decided to set up a stand outside with the intention of feeding the firefighters as they passed through town. Lisa, along with her husband and another employee, set up a “camp” for firefighters. This was especially nice as the next closest one is in O’Neals. Lisa also made sure there was a restroom available for emergency personal.
Her original goal was to give away everything she had in order to make sure the firefighters did not go without. She then had the great idea to do a fundraiser and reached out to her supplier BooBoo Bean for more burritos.
In one day Lisa and BooBoo Bean were able to raise $16,000 dollars, and so far have raised over $20,000 dollars. Lisa and her crew are now working with BooBoo Bean preparing burritos for this Saturday’s big event. Volunteers are working 45-minute shifts, feeding an average of 150 first-responders and volunteers, many of whom will have spent the day rounding up livestock.
They estimate that the $20,000 will last about a month, so any additional donations are welcome.
In addition to her fundraising, Lisa has partnered with a local high school to develop a Business program which will teach students important job skills, such as resume writing as well as how to complete a job application. Students will also be given the opportunity to intern at the Red Barn Coffee Co.