‘A big leap’

Stella’s Coffee Bar opens storefront location

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Abby Stromberg, of Fort Dodge, recently opened a brick-and-mortar coffee shop inspired by the Stella's Coffee Bar trailer that gained a cult following in Fort Dodge last year. The new coffee bar is located next to Brown's Shoe Fit at 160 S. 25th St.

After the Stella’s Coffee Bar mobile camper built a cult following in Fort Dodge last year, owner Abby Stromberg decided she wanted to take that outpouring of support from the community and build on it.

Throughout the year — until the weather just got too cold — Stromberg would set up her vintage 1968 camper at different Fort Dodge businesses each day and serve up creative handcrafted coffee drinks. But because of the harsh Midwestern winters, the mobile coffee bar was a seasonal business.

Stromberg said eventually, customers began to ask for a location they could stop at all the time, so she started looking into starting a brick-and-mortar site.

“We went back and forth about the decision for a while because it was a big, big leap,” she said.

Stromberg connected with Craig Jarrard, owner of Brown’s Shoe Fit, and learned that the building had an open storefront space available, and then Stella’s had a permanent location.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Stella's Coffee Bar is known for its creative lattes handcrafted by owner Abby Stromberg. For the month of February, the latte special is a chocolate covered strawberry flavored latte.

“It was like this little hidden gem,” Stromberg said.

The coffee shop at 160 S. 25th St., officially opened Jan. 28 and the response has been mind-blowing, Stromberg said.

“If it died down, it would still be busier than what I thought it was going to be,” she said. “Everybody’s been super responsive and super great. Our goal has always been to provide a welcoming atmosphere and that everyone felt comfortable coming in here.”

Currently, the shop has 12 employees.

“We’ve got a great team,” Stromberg said. “Everyone we have is just so amazing; I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

In addition to serving handcrafted coffee drinks, Stella’s currently offers a lunch menu from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stromberg said soon, they plan to add a breakfast menu as well.

“We lean toward more healthier-style options,” she said. “Most of our dishes are either vegan or gluten-free or offer some type of health benefit … We feel like that’s something that our community is missing and we really think that’s something our community deserves.”

Next month, Stromberg announced on the Stella’s Coffee Bar Facebook page, the shop will start to offer online ordering

Stella’s is more than just a coffee shop — there’s also a wide selection of merchandise, including apparel, jewelry and other gifts.

Stromberg has big plans for Stella’s. In the summer, the shop will offer outdoor patio seating. During the Fort Dodge Farmer’s Market, Stromberg plans to open the large overhead door facing the market to welcome customers into the shop as well. She said she’s also planning to host live music events.

Stromberg, a 2012 St. Edmond Catholic School grad, started the Crafty Cocktail Camper in early 2020, but after COVID-19 hit and special events started to get canceled, she decided to pivot from cocktails to caffeine and turn that vintage camper into a coffee bar.

The name for the business came from Stromberg’s mother-in-law, who passed away unexpectedly a few years ago.

“She always joked about how she wanted at least one girl (she had only boys),” Stromberg said. “She always talked about how she would have named her Stella.”

Stella’s Coffee Bar is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The shop is closed on Sundays.


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