After ten years of perfecting the award-winning Nova Café in downtown Bozeman, Serena Rundberg was ready to create another gathering place, this time on the west end of Main Street. So, in the spring of 2014, she began meeting with Amanda Schultz of Prospera Business Network’s Montana Women’s Business Center to fine tune her business plan for a new venture: Feed Café.
A few months and many rounds of revisions later, Serena was ready to pursue financing to make her carefully assembled business plan a reality. She continued working with Prospera while preparing her loan request with First Security Bank, and was able to secure a loan to cover the majority of the project costs. However, Serena needed additional capital to cover leasehold improvements, equipment and working capital. Enter Prospera’s Bozeman Revolving Loan Fund financing: Serena says that without this critical final piece, opening Feed Café would not have been possible. After a whirlwind of construction, menu design, hiring and training, Feed Café was on track to open in the spring of 2015.
With an artisan approach to comfort food and a commitment to incorporating hand crafted, local and organic goods, Feed Café has been an immediate success. Complete with farm chic furnishings and community-style seating, the conveniently located red barn near 19th and Main bustles with activity and lively conversations. Patrons linger at tables, stop in to grab a quick bite to go, or take advantage of the checkered blankets provided for enjoying a picnic on the lawn out front.
Amidst it all, Partner and Executive Chef Sean Lehmann fine-tunes the made-from-scratch recipes that are the basis for his fresh and creative menu. Clipboard in hand, Operations Manager Nick Garbiel efficiently coordinates schedules and supplies.
Meanwhile Serena moves from table to table, connecting with customers and making sure her team is fueled by their positive feedback.
Serena graciously shares any credit for her success, saying she cannot emphasize the importance of her employees enough. With roughly 40 total staff (about 25 at Nova and 15 or so at Feed) Serena is quick to praise their hard work. Listening to her talk, it is clear how genuinely she appreciates her team, as well as her patrons.
And witnessing how passionately the community has embraced Serena’s latest endeavor, it is undeniable that they reciprocate her devotion to crafting a thoughtful, genuine community. All by way of nourishing meals, eaten together in style.