If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city.
There was nothing my (Anthony Crosby) daughters enjoyed more than taking a trip down to our local frozen yogurt spot, Spoon Me, for some cool treats and fun times together. Like many Elko locals, we were very bummed to hear of its closing earlier this year; we indeed did make many memories in that establishment. Therefore, it brings me so much joy to talk with the people who are bringing the venue back, sweets and all! Today, we’re joined by the woman who has been the heart behind Spoon Me for the last few years, Stephanie A Roux Vazquez and her partner, the new co-owner of Spoon Me, Lupe Monroy!
Lupe and Stephanie will be relaunching Spoon Me on Halloween of this year (10/31/18) in their new location in the Elko Junction Shopping Center, right next store to Raley’s and Marshall’s. However, before I rush down and fill my fill cup with as much yogurt and gummy bears as it can hold, I want us to get to know these owners a little bit and hear their vision for their business after being closed for most of this year. Stephanie, Lupe, why don’t you each share a little about yourselves?
Stephanie– “I was born in somewhat of a small town in Venezuela until I was eight-years-old when we moved to Idaho; we lived in Idaho for fourteen years. We had family there such as my grandmother who was a very vital person in my life. One thing I learned from both her and my parents was the value of hard work and dedication. My parents owned businesses in both Venezuela and Idaho; I think that’s where my desire to be to a business owner came from. My parents moved to Elko first in 2008, but I stayed in Idaho because I had met my husband. In 2013, we finally moved her too; I was the breadwinner in Idaho, but the company I was working for closed its doors and outsourced all our work to Thailand. We were in a dilemma, so my parents helped my husband get a job here with the mines. We bought Spoon Me in 2015 and had our last daughter in the same year! I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but I also love being able to help support my family, and I saw the potential.”
Lupe– “I’m from California, Watsonville. The strawberry capital of the world! My parents are Mexican; they were born in Mexico and moved to the US when they were about eight or nine. They worked in the fields almost their whole lives. They’ve worked hard to improve and better themselves. I couldn’t really complain about my childhood. I grew up playing a lot of soccer; that’s a big part of who I am. In 2010, my wife and I moved to Elko. We had two kids, and the economy in California was bad at that time, and Elko was booming. We liked the small town feel to Elko; it’s a very different culture here such as there are not a lot of gangs compared to the big city. I liked that and wanted to do something better for the kids. I worked at the mines for about eight years before I finally just needed a change.”
Fantastic; it’s nice to meet you both! Now, can you explain to us the story of how you both ended up in business together, reopening an Elko favorite? Stephanie, please start us out; what happened earlier this year with Spoon Me? “My property manager asked if we wanted to move to a different location as we were in the back of the Elko Junction Shopping Center and could move to the front and acquire more traffic. I said yes to his offer! So, we shut down to prepare to move in January of this year (2018) thinking we were going to be back open in June. However, one of my daughters was struggling with school around that time, and I decided I was going to close the doors permanently; my children needed me. I was looking for a buyer for the business, and Lupe contacted me saying he and his wife wanted to buy Spoon Me… but they wanted me to stay on as well!”
Yes, Lupe! Why don’t you explain why you got involved and why you wanted to work with Stephanie on this project? ” I love Spoon Me; I wanted to buy it in 2015 too! Every time I ever went into Spoon Me, everyone was just so happy. In May, when I found out Stephanie was going to close, I couldn’t sleep that night. I had never met or seen her before, ever, but I sent her a couple of messages and finally had a long conversation over the phone. A few days later, we met for coffee and just talked. We realized we had the same vision for what Spoon Me could be. This is why I didn’t want her to go; I did ask her not to leave. We want to give back to the community, and we felt like we could take our community involvement to the next level; that’s our goal. Both Stephanie and my priority are our kids, but I knew if we partnered together, we could keep this business for the community and the kids. Somebody else from out of state could have come in with a lot of money and bought the place, but they wouldn’t have done what we want to do with it because we love this town!”
One thing both Lupe and Stephanie both told me they wanted to spearhead was the Spoon Me Certificate program which would act as a reward incentive for children (especially middle schoolers) who don’t merely get straight A’s on their report cards, but rather for those who honestly tried their best to work hard and improve themselves educationally. Stephanie, do you want to explain this program a little more to our readers? “As a child, I had to learn to read in English which meant it was a huge deal to get my first Pizza Hut coupon for succeeding in school. It motivated me and pushed me as both my parents had been working so hard with me. Even math was different here compared to what it was in Venezuela! So, I know what it’s like to grow up being both a straight-A student as well as the kid who didn’t understand the work. If a child is trying their best, they should get a reward; this will inspire a child to continue doing better and better. I have seen it in my own kids’ lives, and I see the smiles of the kids when they come in with their Spoon Me bucks’ certificate; it makes me so happy.”
That’s so wonderful; thank you two for genuinely caring about our town and its families. Lupe, as we close, is there anything you would like to add about your heart for this city and how you want that to translate through your business? “I love Elko, man. It’s a very tight town without a lot the outside influences you may find in other cities. When I was a child growing up in California things had to be a lot different compared to the childhood of my kids here. For example, my kid will wear his red shoes; he doesn’t know anything but the fact that he loves his shoes. In a bigger city, if you walk around wearing red shoes, you’re a gang member even at twelve. I feel safe in Elko knowing my kids can go for a walk down the road and be all right. I ask my kids all the time if they want to go back to California. Nope! They don’t want to go back; they love this town, and it’s not about me, it’s about my kids. That’s the reason why we want to keep Spoon Me going, to give back to this community which means a lot to our families.”
“Let’s focus on the kids, that was our main goal for our business. When people come in, I want them to talk about our awesome yogurt, and I want them to believe it to be true! However, I really want people to talk about the fact that we’re always doing something for the kids of this town.”
Again, you can stop by and say hello to both Stephanie and Lupe during their grand opening on Halloween! Their doors will be open from 12-8pm with the grand opening taking place during 3-6pm when your families can win prizes, find pumpkins, and partake in fun activities in the shopping center parking lot! Tell them AAT sent you down!
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around a local business, Elko!