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Heidi Kaisand: Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and Chicks Studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting scrapbooking food wall, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groovin in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. You know, each week I like to start with a quote. And I'm not sure if this is really a quote or more of a statement. But this is anonymous. Coffee is always a good idea. I think that is perfectly stated. Although I am I hate to tell you, I'm not a coffee drinker. A lot of you are, and coffee has become a really big deal. And so I'm very excited this morning to welcome Natalie kracht of natural grind in Grundy center to our show. Good morning, Natalie.

Natalie Kracht: Good morning. How are you today? I'm doing well.

Heidi Kaisand: How are you? I am good. I am good. And I could tell you my story. I'll keep it short. But I had a coffee and tea class at Iowa State University the first week of college. And it was three hours of brewing, steeping boiling coffee and then tasting it. And unfortunately, it kind of ruined my my taste of coffee or my want desire to have coffee for the rest of my life. It hasn't worked. But I know that coffee is a big deal. Big, big deal these days. And I'm just excited to be able to talk with you about it.

Natalie Kracht:  Well, thank you for having me.

Heidi Kaisand: And tell us a little bit about natural grind. Because it's not just coffee. And tell us a little bit about what it is and where you're located.

Natalie Kracht:  Yeah, well, natural grind is a coffee shop. Our slogan is health market and cafe. And because it you know, when I started the coffee shop, I wanted it to have a focus on health and wellness. And coffee has a lot of health benefits. But with that comes pastries and lots of other things that maybe aren't as healthy. But I always say everything in moderation, right? Yes. So yeah, so we have coffee. And as you know, Heidi, you love our smoothies. We have smoothie bowls, we have salads, and soups and paninis. And then I also have a retail section, where I like to call it an earthy retail section where I try to have them gifts, and other retail items and products that are good for the mind, body and soul. So that's been kind of a fun aspect of the store as well. And, you know, people walk in and they go, Wow, I can't believe this is going to center. You know, it's a little out of my maybe out of the box for a smaller rural community. But the community has really embraced it. So very blessed with the customer support that I have here in my town now.

 Heidi Kaisand: Absolutely. Now you're right on Main Street in Grundy center. And how long have you been there?

Natalie Kracht:  It'll be three years in August. Wow. It's 21st.

Heidi Kaisand: And I know as a retail owner myself, the time goes fast, doesn't it?

Natalie Kracht: It does. It does. And you know, as you know, it's been sort of a whirlwind of three years, you know, first year you're learning, growing and trying to keep everything afloat. And then really the second full year business. I know we're all dealing with COVID and had to pivot and really had to figure out how to deliver services a little bit differently in order to stay afloat. And then this year is to spend refreshing seeing everything come back to what I would say even better than normal for me.

Heidi Kaisand: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, as I say, your of your three years, a year and a half of it has really been different and it hasn't been normal. And I've been in business it'll be 10 years in October and and just to see the differences that have happened in those 10 years is amazing, let alone the differences in the last year and a half. So definitely feel free there. So you actually have a you know, we would call it a brick and mortar or a retail space. So Can people come and actually sit down and eat and drink coffee and all of that right there in your establishment.

Natalie Kracht: You know, yeah. And I think that's kind of the beauty and part of the success that I've had at natural Brian here and Greg is just my space, we have about, I think about 3000 square feet on the main level, and 2500 for sure of sitting area. So it allows people to spread out, I have a separate meeting room. And really, when I started natural grind, my idea was to give people a place for community, I was in sales all my life, met with many clients in public places and ingredient, we just didn't really have that space to have a meeting with a client, or even grab a cup of coffee with a friend and sit down. I mean, we were missing. We had that on and off for a while. But we didn't really have a good place for that for you know, good majority of the years. So, absolutely just, it's you know, I attribute a lot of my success to just the, the space that I have and be unable to provide that for the community.

Heidi Kaisand: You bet. We're gonna take a quick commercial break and we'll be back right after this. Quilts for a cause hen and chick studio is having their third annual store sample sale all of July, you can make a difference by purchasing one of these beautifully made pieces. There are many items for sale, including fully finished quilts, table runners holiday decor, and more. All samples are on display at hen and chick studio and Conrad 50% of the profits will go to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research and 50% will go to Chris Rinehart as she finds her cancer battle. Go to to start online shopping today.
Heidi Kaisand: Welcome back to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand. And I'm here with Natalie Kracht from natural grind in Grundy center. And Natalie right before the break, you were talking about a sense of community, a sense of a place to gather. And that that's an it sounds like an important part of of your business. And I think that is something that I don't know, not that it wasn't important before COVID. But it's even I think more important now that we've you know, you we had that those kinds of things stripped away from us. And now we have the opportunity to to think differently about about gathering with our community.

Natalie Kracht: Absolutely. I mean, and I hear that from my customers the same, you know, they feel so appreciative to be back with a friend, your family, you know, so many people coming to Grandview to visit relatives, or the surrounding area to visit relatives right now, because they haven't been able to see them for so long. So it's nice to see these faces, again, that we haven't seen for a long time.

Heidi Kaisand: Yes, absolutely. So you alluded to the fact that you've been in sales for a while, prior to this, you know why? You know, was it the sense of community that place to gather? Is that why you chose a coffee shop? Or, you know, what led you in your, you know, you know, there's not a degree in, you know, coffee making? Or they don't I mean, it's that kind of thing? What has led you to to open up natural grind?

Natalie Kracht: Yeah, that's a really good question. Well, first of all, because I was in sales, I visited a lot and just with the kind of daydream about having my own place. But even more than that, I, I felt a sense of purpose that was deeper. And I knew that my calling in one of my, you know, I have a lot of faults, let me say that probably one of the things that I've been told by other people that I have is just an ability to connect to people and have a, you know, a connection with others. And I just felt like I I really wanted to give back to others in the community. And the way in which I could do that was to, you know, provide a space for people to connect and just and have that community. And what I tell my brief is, is a lot of my customers don't necessarily just come in for a cup of coffees, they come in because they want conversation. They want us to ask them, how their vacation was, how their mom is how their dad is, how their kids are, you know, they they need that. And I think now more than ever, people are wanting that. And so, we try not to get lost in the minutiae of making the coffee's we try to make sure that we really develop relationships with our customers with Hello, My belief is and I was told by a former boss and I knew I didn't belong in the corporate world anymore when I was told by my boss that the business was no longer about relationships, it was about this is about the price. And the just the product. And I, I knew that wasn't for me anymore because I am about relationships. And so when I opened the coffee shop, I really said to myself, you know what, I'm going to build this around the relationship. And that's just who I am. And if it doesn't work, I'll do something else on the side. And if it does, that's great. You just fortunate that, that the model that I've created has really been able to provide for me and my family. And you know, I haven't had to do I did for a while, as you know, Heidi was a chamber director, position, but now I'm just solely focused on my business again, which is good, that I've been able to do that.

Heidi Kaisand: Yeah, absolutely. Natalie, and I know why I can, you know, we've had some conversations, but I know we could have far more. And I can see why we connect so well in the fact that, that I feel similar kinds of feelings about my customers at hand in check studio is, yeah, we're making quilts, absolutely, we're selling fabric. But those relationships that we have with our customers are so valuable, and so important in the process of, you know, understanding, you know, why they're making a quilt, why they're being creative. You know, why they come and socialize with other ladies that are, you know, doing similar types of things. So, I can just, we could go on and on about those kinds of things. That is awesome. One of the, one of the things I see about you at now to grind is that you are, you're hitting it on the nail, you've got the right balance of food, that that good feeling those good vibes going on. So what is happening is everybody wants you, don't they? They want you to, they want you to copy what you're doing and come to every community, including Conrad, I know. I think you've got some fans in Conrad, because we've had you bring your your boss while you've been there at least twice already once for black dirt days. And and once that hidden chicks studio, and you're coming back next Tuesday at 7:30am. We're so excited. But how does that change your business model this year? With your two go bus?

Natalie Kracht: Yeah, that's been a great addition. You know, financial grind was the coffee struck in. Sometimes they call it a bus, sometimes they call this track, it's practically a subtle bus that we converted into a coffee track, it is absolutely amazing. I think that, you know, the main challenge was, was the demand for it that I didn't understand would be there. The demand is huge. I mean, technically, I could be out every day with it. If I want it to be or if I could have the capacity to be this year, not knowing what the demand was going to be. I just didn't have the staff to be out with it every day. Next year, we'll look at maybe staffing a little bit differently. Conrad Conrad support. And that was that was a great morning, and I'm excited to be back in Conrad again. And, you know, what we're learning is what doesn't work for the track and what does and a lot of morning events really worked well. Because we have the coffee, this movie, this movie rolls. And we do a lot of afternoon events. Of course, we were at the fair all day, this this year. And for those that worked well, as well. But I think you know, as we're all facing in this industry, staffing is something that you know, you need it to pick the right individuals are a good fit. And then on the other hand, you can't let the mothership thing out on the bus. So I'm really careful. I'm trying to be careful about making sure that our brick and mortar store is staffed appropriately because we're getting no it was so busy in the coffee shop sometimes but we definitely want to deliver a good product and good service there without short staffing your you know your mothership, if you want to say yeah, so. And quality is really really important to me, you know, one of the things I just had, you know, I have a coach too that said to me, you know, for you get too big, you know, make sure that your name, you know, your main store is running fully functional without you And so we're working towards that. I've got great team, great staff. I'm just really really so blessed with so many great employees. Heidi, I know you have in place. Yeah, really good to I see them on your lives and I think we can be you and I can be very blessed by my some of my staff.

Heidi Kaisand: Some of my staff was willing to jump ship to work for you if that made a difference in bringing the the natural grind bust to to Conrad which I was like, wait a minute, wait a minute, but of course we'd love that the day that they love it so much, you know that they're willing to go work for you too. So that is awesome. Well, Natalie, as as we're just having too much fun talking about all of these things. We're gonna take a quick commercial break and then we'll come back and I do want to hear maybe what your top three favorite items are at your, at your shop. So you think about that during the commercial break and we'll be back right after this.
Quilts for a cause hen and chick studio is having their third annual store sample sale all of July you can make a difference by purchasing one of these beautifully made pieces. There are many items for sale, including fully finished quilts, table runners holiday decor, and more. All samples are on display at hand and check studio and Conrad 50% of the profits will go to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research and 50% will go to Chris Rinehart as she finds her cancer battle. Go to Hen and chicks to start online shopping today.

Heidi Kaisand: Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand having a fun conversation with Natalie from natural grind, talking about the businesses that we're running and why we're running them. But also, we've got to talk about the food. Before we do that before I have you answer my question, Natalie. Want to remind everybody that on Tuesday morning, July 27. At 730 you will be have your bus parked behind head and check studio works really well. We've got that nice grassy areas so you can get everybody back there. And if people want to pre order, they can do that as well. Can't they, Natalie?

Natalie Kracht: Yeah, absolutely. If you're looking at on pre ordering lunch, they can message me through Facebook right now. It maybe we'll think of a different way. They can do that as well who are on that line app, we can get creative, as long as they say bring it to Conrad. If you order through our on my lap app, we can do that. We make the food here and grundy and then we'll put it on the bus and have it ready for you when you pick it up. So well. I know I've cut out a post about how to do that you.

Heidi Kaisand: You should because I definitely I definitely need to get a salad on the order list because I like your harvest salad. So so I have to do that. Well. So before the break I you know, of course Yeah, we've been talking about business and fun. But let's get down to the serious stuff of the food and beverages that you serve. What are I said three? But what are your top three items that you love or know that your customers love?

Heidi Kaisand: yeah, oh my gosh, you know, you. When I was thinking about this, I'm like, Oh my gosh, I love everything I have because this stores everything Natalie loves essentially, of course, same as Hen and chicks studio we got we have that same thing going on.

Natalie Kracht:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. So but I would say what's really trending right now, obviously. I mean, my coffees from day one have been my biggest sellers. But what's really trending right now are energy drinks. And so some people like you, Heidi that aren't fond of coffee, but need energy. So you don't want to go and get a Red Bull and get you know all of those nasty ingredients and at all or whatever that you can get in some of those energy drinks. You can come to a national brand and we have plant based energy drinks. So they have that vitamin D 10 and b 12. And they also are made from green coffee beans. They don't taste coffee at all. They're like a carbonated fizzy, fruity water with nutrients in them that give you energy. So those have been huge. And a great addition to our lineup. Then the other thing we added recently I say in the last four or five months is smoothie bowls. So smoothie bowl have anything you had what is so I've got a couple now Yes, I'm hooked. Yep, yep. And so we have a few different faces. I evils are most popular, but we also have like a chocolate peanut butter bass, and a pineapple mango base.

Heidi Kaisand: Well, you gotta you gotta say that. The Peanut butter chocolate one is the hunky monkey, monkey. chunky, monkey,

Natalie Kracht:  hunky monkey. And it's amazing. Yes, it's a meal in itself.

Heidi Kaisand: Yeah, it is. It's very good. Oh, yeah. Yummy, yummy. I would definitely rank those up there.

Natalie Kracht: And then if I had to say like, I love my retail section, because it's, you know, like I said, I kind of earthy, I try to maintain that earthy feel. I'm on the vibe of, you know, mindfulness and soul fitness and really, you know, looking inwards at your, you know, at yourself. And so I have books that I absolutely love I journals that I think are good for your mind, body and soul. And also just herbal teas with honestly, Heidi, I think you and I are a lot of likes, I like to create all the time. And when I really have time, I take my herbs and I mix them into different teas. And sometimes I buy them pre mix, I have a pre mixed wellness. See, that's amazing for immunity support. And that is a huge seller for me. And some of my other wellness needs are as well, the herbal teas, and I think it's just you know, we're in this day and age of people trying to fuel their body with things that are healthy for them so that we can stay healthy. So they're looking for, you know, the herbal teas, or the natural remedies, or, you know, a healthier energy drink or the valid things that we can do our body with that actually give us yield throughout the day and doesn't, doesn't necessarily drag us down. And we need those nutrients right now, to keep us healthy in this world. Absolutely. And all of those things that you've mentioned are all good. And it is a mosaic complete mindset that that we can the journaling the you know, reading the the just eating healthy, all of those things exercise, you could throw that in there are all part of having that healthy life and having natural energy. People ask me a lot of times where I get my energy and I haven't had caffeine in a beverage like a soda, it'll be three years this fall that I haven't had a single soda. And because I get that, that energy naturally from other things that I do. And that's I think it's makes me a healthier person. I hope it does.

Heidi Kaisand: Yeah, absolutely.

Natalie Kracht: When I opened I, I want I recognize when I traveled and I needed a place to quick grab something that was healthy, I didn't, you know, I didn't feel good about myself when I was going to a convenience store grabbing some unhealthy snack just because I was starving. And so I have a cooler, full of, you know, yogurt, parfaits and salads and different raw juices, things that people can pick up and get in their car and leave really fast and feel good about themselves for the rest of the day really feel them. You know, I will say it was a little bit difficult for me to take off on this model right away in this community, or I think in any smaller community, it was just a different concept. And so it took some time for the community to and that I'm not talking about Bernie center in particular, but my customers to really understand what I was about. And I don't have everything healthy there. So if you feel like it's free, and it's your day to have a treat, you know, the stakes, I definitely have that. And everybody knows that. But it's the day you need to stick to your diet plan. I have those options. And that was important for me to provide.

Heidi Kaisand: That's awesome. Natalie, so tell us the hours of your store in Grundy?

Natalie Kracht: Yeah, I'm open Monday through Friday 6:30am to 5pm. Saturday 7:30 to 3 and then Sunday's we just have a quick little before or after hours 930 then noon. And so, you know those hours seem to think I could expand on those hours a little bit. But for right now that we're sitting with those hours.

Heidi Kaisand: Well, everybody needs a little bit of rest. Well, we've been having fun Natalie, and I appreciate you joining us looking forward to seeing you at Hen and chicks studio next Tuesday the 27th at 7:30. And until next week, everybody be creative