When Kimberly Broesder and Tori Williams dreamed of opening Rustic Roast, opening during a global pandemic wasn’t part of the plan.

The best friends began their business planning three years ago, first seeking out space in the Market Common area and then looking at a building on Conway’s Laurel Street that unfortunately collapsed a few months later.

During a visit to Coffee Nerd, the owner jokingly asked, “Want to buy the place?”

In February 2020, the businesswomen had the keys to the former Coffee Nerd location and they began transforming it into what is now Rustic Roast. Then COVID-19 hit the United States.

“That’s when the adventure truly began,” Broesder said with a laugh. “Every time we turned around, it was something.”

From building troubles to delivery delays, Williams and Broesder were faced with a multitude of obstacles as they prepared to open their coffee shop. They installed and calibrated their espresso machine themselves via FaceTime. Even the restaurant health inspection was done through FaceTime.

“We’ve had great stories since the virus didn’t stop,” Williams said.

The inside of the coffee shop is very cozy, with a beautiful book nook that Broesder said she’d love to see in a future Hallmark movie.

Rustic Roast also has a few outdoor tables and a full-service drive-thru.

Rustic Roast’s menu features a wide selection of handcrafted sodas, tea, and specialty coffee drinks with a large variety of flavor syrups available to customize your beverage.

Food offerings include traditional breakfast sandwiches, wraps and paninis.

But Rustic Roast’s specialty is open-faced gourmet toast, like avocado toast but “livened up a little bit,” Broesder said.

Toast options include Avocado Caprese (sliced avocados, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled with balsamic glaze on French bread) and Berries and Creme (seasonal berries and marscapone cheese drizzled with honey on brioche bread).

On Saturdays, Broesder makes special sweets. Past customer favorites have included apple turnovers, house-made tiramisu and chocolate cannolis.

Customer favorites include Butterfly Pea Flower tea, which “tastes like cotton candy,” and the Rustic Chicken panini with house-made chipotle mayo. They recently rolled out a CCU-themed “Teal Drink” as well.

“It’s been nice to launch with a select few things we want to make excellent,” Williams said.

Williams has a customer service and maintenance background while Broesder has 15 years experience in the coffee business and a love for cooking.

“I’m taking my passion for good food and duplicating it for mass consumption,” Broesder said.

The friends have countless ideas for future partnerships and events with Rustic Roast, including expanding hours to offer trivia, live music, and offering beer and wine sales.

“I love thinking outside the box,” Broesder said.

Rustic Roast is committed to giving back, too, partnering with local and international charities.

The shop is currently giving a percentage of the sale of all African coffees to Be The Feet, a ministry in Tanzania that runs a children’s home and medical clinic.

“We’re honored to have them be our first international partner,” Williams said.

The pair is glad to be open and looks forward to serving the community and the future of the shop.

“We’re learning a bunch and excited and looking forward to what’s to come,” Williams said.

Rustic Roast is at 182 Waccamaw Medical Park Court in Conway.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The shop is closed Sundays. Drive-thru hours are the same as indoor hours.

For more information, visit www.rusticroast.co, call 843-347-9393.

Rustic Roast is also on Facebook and Instagram.

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