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A slice of Melbourne in the heart of Manhattan

Nick Stone
Nick Stone.

Supplied: Nick Stone/Monash University

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Nick Stone is bringing a taste of Melbourne to the streets of Manhattan. And in the process, New Yorkers are discovering the pleasures of Melbourne-style coffee.

After completing his Bachelor of Business degree at Monash University, Stone worked in investment banking before moving to New York to pursue further study, which involved coming up with a unique business pitch.

His initial thought was to ride the digital wave, taking the obvious route of technology and app development. Instead, he stopped to think for a moment, and inspiration came in the form of bricks and mortar – a Melbourne café concept.

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Australian coffee culture

When he first arrived in New York, Stone was intrigued by the grab-and-go culture of American coffee shops.

“In Melbourne, the café is a place where the barista knows your face, knows your name, knows your order.”

Rather than simply pursuing a caffeine hit, Melburnians view the coffee experience as a chance to escape the frenetic pace of life. The focus is on providing premium coffee and complimentary food, focusing on high quality, seasonal and natural ingredients.

Coffee
Coffee.

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Building a lifestyle brand

Sensing an untapped opportunity, Stone aimed to develop a Melbourne-style café brand with an emphasis on quality coffee and fresh, healthy food. With a menu that includes staples like smashed avocado and corn fritters, it’s a slice of Melbourne in the heart of Manhattan.

But Bluestone Lane isn’t just selling food and coffee, it’s selling a lifestyle. The cafés are bright and open spaces that facilitate social engagement. The wholesome food and artisanal beverage offerings are designed to be savoured. Customers are encouraged to become knowledgeable about the quality of coffee they drink and the unique and personal service means people leave as friends.

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Taking New York by storm

In three and a half short years, Stone has grown Bluestone Lane into a thriving business, with 14 locations across New York and Philadelphia, with a further 12 locations set to open this year across Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

This material was produced by Monash University.