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a local home-grown focus at one love people
story and photo by Shaila Creekmore

A recent addition to the many popular restaurants and business offices located in Downtown Jonesboro is One Love People, a new, trendy coffee shop that offers customers a variety of hot and cold drinks, breakfast options, retail items and more.

Formerly a hairdresser and most recently a stay-at-home mom, owner Lauren George had originally envisioned more of a retail shop when she opened One Love People on June 6, but the business quickly evolved into a coffee shop as her business model began to take shape.

“I love coffee,” said George. “I’ve drank coffee since I was little; seriously since I was like 3 or 4 years old.”

George’s goal in opening her new shop was to sell locally-owned products and fair trade items, but she also hopes to use the business to educate others about shopping more intentionally.“I want to help others learn why more people should buy and eat local,” said George. “I want to help others have a more global view. We want people to be more conscious consumers.”

George’s desire to be a more conscious consumer is evident in her style at the coffee shop: the table cloths are made from recycled T-shirts, the couches, chairs and tables were purchased secondhand and the store’s afghans were purchased at yard sales.

“It just makes good sense to me to buy things that are used - things that would otherwise go to the landfill,” said George.

Paintings by Dewana McIntosh and photographs by Lindsey Little hang on the walls of the shop and are available for purchase. Also for sale are cards of the prints by Little and necklaces and earrings by McIntosh. Other available items include Knotheads headbands by Jessica Odom, laundry soap made by Aaron
Houston and Made on Main candles by Kelsey Golden, all of which are locally made.

The free trade items that are currently available are bracelets by Pura Vida. They’re handmade in Costa Rica by the small company, which provides around 30 full-time jobs for locals.“We will be bringing in more products soon,” said George.“We wanted to get one thing down good and then add to it.”

In a back corner of the shop is a counter made of reclaimed wood; there, customers can purchase their morning coffee or an iced tea, both from organic and free trade products. Coffee is the second highest traded commodity in the world.

Despite coffee’s power in the global market, most coffee producers and workers make little to no money for their work in the fields. Many coffee shops like One Love People make an effort to help the coffee growers by buying directly from producers that are certified fair trade.

One Love People purchases all of its coffee from Dean’s Beans, accompany that works with growers in 13 countries to blend different varieties at its beanery in Orange, Mass. The company produced a special blend called One Love People Brew for the coffee shop, which is made with a blend of medium roasted
Mexican and Peruvian beans.

The shop rotates different blends made from different regions every few days and has cards describing each blend at the counter for customers. George said she usually offers two or three light to medium blends and two or three dark to medium blends each day. Any of the coffees can be served hot or cold and can be made with the customer’s choice of brewing method.

One Love People likewise offers a variety of teas that can be served hot or cold. All the teas are fair trade and organic and come straight from the grower to Wabi Tea Co., which then blends the teas into one of the 20 different varieties offered by George. The company specializes in medicinal blends that are specially
formulated to assist in a healthy body and mind.

Another specialty drink available is the shop’s Italian sodas, which are made with simple syrups by Pink House Alchemy, a Fayetteville-based company.

One Love People also has a variety of products by Dean’s Beans, Wabi Tea Co. and Pink House Alchemy available for retail. To go along with customers’ drinks, George has developed a menu based on locally produced foods. The breakfast-type foods are available throughout the day and feature eggs, pork, fruits and vegetables that are all from local growers. Menu items include an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich; a veggie, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich; and a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. All sandwiches are made with gluten-free bread from local baker Angela Lancaster at Three Birds Baking.

“My thing is, why be buying bread from the grocery store when I can be buying it from Angela?” said George.

Other menu items include gluten-free waffles topped with fresh fruit and yogurt and oatmeal with fresh toppings. Specials are also featured each day based on what is available during the week at the ASU Farmers’ Market or what is otherwise locally produced.

“We recently had a bacon, spinach and tomato sandwich because I was able to get these really great fresh tomatoes,” said George. “It was our own version of a BLT.”

Baked goods made in-house are often available with items like muffins, cookies, banana nut bread and granola bars.

If on occasion George is unable to buy produce locally, she ensures that the foods she is buying are organic. If neither is available, she will remove the item from her menu until she can purchase ingredients that match her standards.

“I serve what I have available,” said George. “I’m not going to compromise my standards and my values. I’ll just take it off my menu for a couple days if I have to.”

George said she has enjoyed her first two months of business, especially getting to know her downtown neighbors and customers.“I get to meet all sorts of really awesome people,” said George.“It’s just kind of neat. I never know who I’m going to see, and I’m meeting people I would have never met otherwise.”

One Love People, located at 223 S. Main Street, is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For moreinformation, call 819-8906.