Earth, Oak, & a First in Lorain
Earth & Oak is a small retail storefront concept at 631 Broadway in downtown Lorain. Coffee, tea, spices, and other specialty handmade items are beginning to line the shelves of this newly renovated space, now where visitors from all over are starting to discover.
Owner Andrew Shaffer has a culinary background and years of experience working in fine dining, banquets, and recipe development. After growing up in Amherst and eventually moving to Lorain, the interactions with the community completely immersed him. The culture and atmosphere of the numerous eateries and local events in the area led to the idea of bringing a unique food concept to Lorain, a city already brimming with many exciting cuisines and new restaurants popping up all the time.
Along with a wealth of knowledge from Lorain County Community College and Johnson & Wales University, Andrew understood the basic structures of business, and he knew Lorain was the right market for his idea. Having the foundation laid, he then stumbled upon what would become the perfect location: a storefront on Broadway!
Earth & Oak provides an opportunity to offer ingredients that contribute to the favorite flavors found in many nearby restaurants. Visitors can purchase highquality loose-leaf teas, single-origin coffees from various countries, and custom-blended specialty spices and herbs. So far, it has also offered a great chance to work with family members and close friends, supplementing the store with handmade sugar scrubs and oat-milk soaps, as well as custom woodworking gifts and other specialty items that are currently in the works.
Coupled with Andrew’s long-rooted love for hiking and the great outdoors, the store blends several unique colors and textures, from milled black locust wood shelving mounted on fabricated steel brackets to handcut sycamore wood countertops. These distinctive looks paired with the colors and décor complement the overall look of the historic building, also housing Jason Shaffer Photography.
This perfect pairing led to an integral partnership with Jason Shaffer, from the many ideas for the initial business concept to the beautiful graphic designs seen on all Earth & Oak products. The duo's shared love for cooking and exotic coffees has also contributed to many fun ideas and collaborations that will be displayed in several ways, involving fine art canvases seen in the storefront, a website showcasing the products and their uses, and social media posts and contests to engage with Earth & Oak's audience.
Collectively, Earth & Oak's efforts and outreach will hopefully spread more awareness of the big things happening downtown and will continue to grow Lorain in a way that impacts every person who passes through.
As someone who has always been creative with food and interested in experimenting with flavors, Andrew thinks having a hand-picked line of spices, coffees, and teas is a dream come true.
So far, the most exciting part has been tasting and sampling the products and discovering what customers enjoy. Andrew plans to remain proactive in the growth of these product lines and teach people how to get the most use out of the products they purchase by creating recipes and helping to show the various ways to use each item.
Another exciting area of the business is partnering with local restaurants to place Earth & Oak products on various food and beverage menus. Union Town Provisions is officially the first in this category to sell Earth & Oak's coffee blends, and Union Town guests can now enjoy the different flavors in a latté, house coffee, or a cappuccino!
Andrew believes these types of partnerships are an important part of supporting each other as local downtown businesses. Lorain has so much opportunity to grow, and it provides a welcoming atmosphere to those who visit downtown.
Adding a unique new store to the mix is hopefully the first step in helping others venture outside of their comfort zones, sparking growth and bringing inspiration to other new shops and businesses on Broadway and throughout our entire city.