FARGO-Paige Loftus hasn't even started college and she's already an experienced manager who helps run a new coffee shop in north Fargo.
The 19-year-old Fargo native and her sister, 17-year-old Sunday Stevens, are co-owners and managers of Fargo Coffee, which opened Wednesday, March 8, at 1020 19th Ave. N.
Their father, Mike Stevens, has been a business owner here for decades, including a print shop called Express Press that he sold when he planned to retire. But according to Loftus, retirement didn't work for her dad.
Instead, he decided to buy the two Orange Julius stores in West Acres Shopping Center and get back in the business world to give his daughters some real-world experience, she said.
"We were both home-schooled through high school, so just having that information or learning experience through school was really helpful," she said.
Stevens' slate of businesses grew in May 2015 when his family opened a Little Caesars at 1020 19th Ave. N., taking the place of a former TCBY yogurt shop and Gloria Jean's coffee shop that had closed there in 2014 in a building connected to a Holiday store.
The family planned to open Fargo Coffee in 2015, but that was delayed when Stevens was diagnosed with leukemia.
"Because of that, everything was kind of put on hold and we weren't able to open," she said.
Loftus said the family got back to work on Fargo Coffee in November after Stevens, who is now cancer-free, was back home and ready for the next step. After a few months of renovations and preparations, the new java joint opened last week.
Fargo Coffee is not the only coffee shop in the community, but Loftus said she hopes it's a good option for nearby residents with its focus on quality drinks, doughnuts and its location on the north side of town.
"I think north Fargo has really appreciated having a new business that's not a chain and that's kind of unique and fun," she said. "We've had a lot of people who have definitely been waiting for this."
It serves up products from other Fargo businesses, with its coffee beans coming from downtown Fargo's Twenty Below Coffee Co. and pastries delivered by Sweet Rings Donuts & Deli, the new name for Paradise Donuts in south Fargo.
In addition to drip coffee and espresso drinks, the shop can serve teas, smoothies and frappes, Loftus said.
There's no drive-thru at Fargo Coffee, but she said she hopes customers will enjoy this cozy place to hang out and enjoy some coffee in the neighborhood. Before opening, the space received a facelift with a reclaimed wood accent wall, new furniture and more.
"We really tried to make the inside as warm and as nice as we could to draw people in and have a lot of seating areas," she said.
Loftus and her husband plan to move to Virginia next year so she can study journalism and religious studies at Liberty University, and Stevens will stay on to keep Fargo Coffee going.
But she said her entrepreneurial family has motivated her to try opening her own business someday.
"Having grown up with parents who own businesses, it was definitely put in me when I was little as a dream," Loftus said.
What: Fargo Coffee
Where: 1020 19th Ave. N., Fargo
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday
Phone: (701) 566-5357