• Abigail Hall

New Norman cafe finds success serving locally sourced coffee

Originally published at OU Daily Jan. 21, 2018

Near the intersection of Berry Road and Main Street sits Stella Nova, Norman’s newest local cafe, in the square-shaped building that once belonged to The Cube.

Stella Nova partners John Kennedy, Kelli Lay and a group of friends bought the building from The Cube, a drive-thru convenience store, which closed in 2016.

Stella Nova has both a drive-thru and a welcoming walk-in coffee shop experience. Upon entrance, one will notice the industrial yet warm environment created with wooden group tables and cozy sofa corners where customers can chat over a cup of coffee. It is an open space with wide windows and local art showcased on the walls, accenting the space as both modern and individualistic.

Kennedy said that the difference between Stella Nova and corporations such as Starbucks is quality and the choice to locally source.

“The difference is (we) incorporate small batch coffee,” Kennedy said. “The quality is great, just like in the local shops. People also seem to like the local art, and it makes a difference.”

Due to the upcharge of being locally sourced, a cup of coffee at Stella Nova costs $2.45, while at Starbucks it costs $2.12.

The coffee shop officially opened Jan. 7 and awarded the first 100 customers with $10 gift cards toward their future endeavors at the cafe. The shop's owners hoped for 150 customers on their first day, but 500 people ended up walking through their doors.

Kennedy and Lay loved the good craft coffee found at local cafes, but wanted to bring a level of quality through convenience to everyday Oklahoma customers. While Kennedy focused on curating the artistic aspects of Stella Nova, Lay focused on the quality of the products and the importance of keeping it local.

For both Kennedy and Lay, quality is of the utmost importance. In every aspect of architecturally creating the space, cultivating a welcoming environment and finding locally sourced products, they desired to do so with the best quality they could.

Stella Nova is locally owned and sources its beans from Mariposa Coffee, a local roastery. It also serves pastries baked daily.

The shop is designed with the work of Oklahoman artists. Kennedy's own son created one of the paintings found in Stella Nova. Kennedy found other pieces shown in the shop through searching for local art at the Chickasaw Gallery and art shows in Oklahoma City.

Susan Wilson, a local patron and 2003 graduate of OU, was one of the first 100 customers on opening day and thoroughly enjoyed her experience at Stella Nova. Wilson was a drive-thru customer.

“It was lovely,” Wilson said. “It will be my neighborhood coffee shop.”

Wilson said during her experience at the shop, she felt cared for through the employees' friendly customer service.

Today, Stella Nova's tables are filled with Norman locals — families and students alike. Baristas stand behind the bar to answer questions about beans and types of drinks, as well as to welcome new customers and deliver handcrafted drinks with a smile. Hospitality employees walk around assisting customers with free samples and anything they might need.

Austin Leeviraphan, a 2016 OU graduate in communications, said he stops by Stella Nova every day for coffee on his way to work.

“It’s a good environment to sit down with someone for an extended period of time over a cup of coffee,” Leeviraphan said.

Stella Nova is open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The coffee shop is located at 1415 W. Main St. in Norman.

A second location of Stella Nova is set to open in February at 4716 N. Western Ave. in Oklahoma City.

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