- September 26, 2019
Can a store at the center of four Philadelphia neighborhoods serve a diverse array of customers and create a sense of community?
Stone’s Beverage center in Fairmount has been an institution for decades. Originally owned by the Stone family, the store had changed hands several times, before local business owner Nick Wendowski and his wife, Jen purchased it earlier this year. Heady Times decided to check in to see what has changed, and what hasn’t, for this Fairmount favorite.
HT: Do you and your wife have a history in the beer business?
NW: No, but we do have history in the neighborhood. We own a yoga studio across the street and we live just a few blocks away. We’d been running our yoga studio, Yoga Habit, for about three years and really building up the business. We loved the idea of serving the needs of the neighborhood with another small business, so we decided to purchase Stone’s.
HT: What is it about this part of Philadelphia that inspires you both?
NW: Parts of Fairmount have been established for a long time, but not so much in this area. Historically, this neighborhood has been underserved from a business standpoint, as well as a community standpoint. But that’s changing. We wanted to see Stone’s grow because it really serves several communities, as we’re positioned between four neighborhoods: Fairmount, Francisville, Spring Garden and North Broad. We’re right in the middle of it all, so we have a broad customer base. Our goal is to bring those customers together in one place.
HT: Having just gotten your feet wet these past three months, what are some of your plans for the future?
NW: The business as we inherited it doesn’t have significant tavern service. I’d love to be able to expand that. We’d also like to grow the beer community. We’ve been extremely successful in growing a community around our yoga studio. We don’t want people to come in, do yoga, and leave. We hold events, run trips to Mexico and donate time, resources and money to community groups.
HT: Can we expect to see those same programs at Stone’s?
NW: Not necessarily. What we want to do is apply what we’ve learned at the yoga studio and do the same for Stone’s. I’d love to offer an educational beer series like Beer 101, for people who might be interested in beer, but don’t know where to start. Maybe they’ve been drinking domestic beer, and hear “craft”, and think “expensive”. We know there are reasonably-priced craft beers available, we just need to educate people about things like that. There’s room to grow a community around beer education, but also around beer experiences and those are the types of interactions we’re excited about.
StonesOfPhilly.com • 1701 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia • 215-763-9789