“Wouldn’t it be cool to have our own farmers market or coffee shop?” Ryan Bowersox would say to his wife Beth.
“That would be a great way to serve the community!” Beth would say. For years, this was the couple’s dialogue, but it was no more than an idea. They would frequently look at spaces for lease, but the prices in Atlanta were high. For years, their dream remained a distant one.
Until one day, on the way to take family photos in Alpharetta, the family drove past a building for lease on the corner of Hickory Flat Road and Birmingham Highway.
“We both looked at each other, and it was serendipitous,” said Beth. “The building was gorgeous, and we knew at that moment, this would be the perfect spot to open our market.”
Within 24 hours, Beth and Ryan had drafted a business plan and sent it to the landlord, and six months later, the building was renovated. The couple’s dream for a farmers market only needed a name, and they settled on Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable, named after their children, Wilbur, age five, and Rudy, age three.
The first few months that the Bowersox had the building, they used it primarily as a farmers market, selling locally-made jams and jellies. The building was huge, and the farmers market only took up half the space.
“Throughout this year, we’ve had a better idea about how we fit into the community,” said Ryan. “Customers would come in and offer suggestions; ‘you should serve coffee,’ or ‘why not have wine and appetizers at night…’ and It just molded into a little bit of everything, based on customer wants.”
The Bowersox’s original idea was to have a one-stop shop for locals to get gourmet dinners to-go, but it didn’t take off. In December, Wilbur and Rudy’s sold Christmas trees and gave away free cups of coffee, and it was an instant hit. Ryan had been roasting his own coffee from green coffee beans for years, and seeing this response made the Bowersox re-think the market and decided to give the coffee café a shot. They bought some percolators, and started serving, and customers went nuts.
“The community has embraced us,” said Beth. “They are the reason that we even had the coffee shop. It was through their feedback for us to try it out, and their continued support for us to keep it. To this day, the coffee shop profits the most compared to the market.”
Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable goes to lengths to ensure their coffee is the highest quality, with 95 percent organic ingredients, and specialty coffee beans that are either fair trade or direct trade. Their goal in both the market and the coffee shop is to provide the Alpharetta community with locally grown and made products, without breaking the bank.
To further their stance in Alpharetta and to make the area a social hub, the Bowersox created the Milton Social Life Club. They listened to the community’s ideas and weekly Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable offers Friday night wine tastings and local bands.
For its next year, Beth and Ryan have goals to transition Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable to offer full-service meals. Right now, the coffee shop serves sandwiches and pastries from outside vendors, but within the year, they’ll serve savory, hot foods and weekend brunch. The Bowersox hope to become a place for the Alpharetta community to gather for made-to-order gourmet food. Beth and Ryan recently moved from Canton to Alpharetta, just down the street from Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable.
Wilbur and Rudy’s Farmtable
850 Hickory Flat Road, 877.201.2601