Lucky Tree is the locally owned coffee shop and art gallery across Hillsborough St. from Meredith College. It is a regular hangout spot for NC State and Meredith students alike, but how well do patrons know its origin and history? Not as well as they could.
The shop was opened four years ago by twin sisters, Amanda and Ashley Faries. The sisters are locals who were raised in Durham, which is just 25 minutes down the road. When asked about how the idea for Lucky Tree came about, the sisters referred to it as their “inner desire.” They were raised in a crafty and resourceful environment that bred creativity and drive.
Lucky Tree is much more than just a coffee shop. The sisters have built a solar powered bean roasting station in their backyard, so on a sunny day your coffee is roasted by nature herself. The baristas bake everything that is seen in the case, including the oatmeals, and also make all of the syrups throughout the day. However, the truly amazing part of Lucky Tree coffee is that it comes directly from a farmer in Honduras that the sisters are in contact with. Not only is it fair trade, but it emphasizes Lucky Tree’s family atmosphere.
Lucky Tree is ever-evolving and has definitely expanded from when they hired their first employee Mahlet Hailemariam who said it has “grown tremendously.” Hailemariam went on to say how much Lucky Tree has meant to her; “I started working there during a transition period in my life. They were there for me when I needed them...offering their open arms in celebrating my successes.” She values the impact Lucky Tree’s community had on her life and it is obvious that she is not the only one who feels this way. There are lots of regulars who became friends with the baristas and owners.
The sisters wanted a maker’s space because they felt as though they had no space to showcase their unique art. Originally they had a tent at the Raleigh Flea Market and that space turned into their art gallery, Lucky Pie. They opened Lucky Pie in Cary in an attempt to create a space for artists who also felt similarly and to make contacts within the local art community. From there they built Lucky Tree from the roots up in their current store front.
The twins described the experience of creating Lucky Tree as “Letting go and going where we felt lead.” Everything within the shop is detailed, purposeful and made to be uplifting, from the rope that holds Ginger the mannequin (from their childhood treehouse) to the handcrafted earrings made by the sisters. This was not an easy process though, it was originally a failed kickstarter. Then one of their friends told Ashley about a walked-out space whose previous owners had left a semi-usable espresso machine along with various scraps of material. This was how Lucky Pie Gallery turned into Lucky Tree. The beautiful chandelier that hangs above the register was made from cups and coffee filters that the previous owner left behind. Everything was a project and the sisters worked day and night for months to create their shop.
On the topic of how being women has affected their business, the two stated that they did not feel it has had a significant effect. Ashley said that it was interesting how many times a patron would come in and request to speak to the owner by using the pronoun “he.” She said that frequently she would just respond with “I’m sorry, HE isn’t here right now” as a way to joke with the customer.
On a more serious note, the sisters do feel that the details they put into the space were made more prevalent because they are women. Examples of this include “the ambiance, the sound, the music, comfortable seating and plants.” All in all, Lucky Tree is special and it is not just because of how good the coffee is. The Faries twins are shown in the image provided: Amanda on the left, Ashley on the right.
By Ell Shelp-Peck, Staff Writer