Due to racial tension surrounding Native American mascots across the country, a family-owned Norman business will change its name in the coming months.
Eskimo Sno, a snow cone company owned by OU alumni Adrian and Jennii Buendia will change its name to Beanstalk Coffee and Sno across all Norman locations, the owners announced via Facebook Monday.
“We believe in racial equality and recognize that the name we have used is inappropriate,” the post said. “By changing our name, we hope to become a part of the solution.”
Jennii told The OU Daily Tuesday she and Adrian decided to change all of their locations to match the Beanstalk Coffee and Sno location they opened on Northwest 36th Avenue in March.
Jennii also said the move is tied to Adrian’s and her desire to make the business their own.
The Eskimo Sno name was chosen by the original owner from whom the Buendias purchased the chain in 2003, and the couple said they now want to add a personal touch to their stores.
“It didn't really make sense to have two different brand names in Norman, when it's the same owners, and so we wanted to change it,” Jennii said. “And a couple years ago, we were kind of introduced to the idea of ‘eskimo’ not being an appropriate term to use, and so we've been trying to come up with a way for the past couple of years to change it … and then this week it just made sense to announce what our plans were.”
As part of the rebrand, the Facebook announcement said the Eskimo Sno location at Northeast 12th Avenue will close after Labor Day for renovations before reopening as a second Beanstalk location.
Meanwhile the seasonal stands on West Lindsey Street and outside Family Video on East Constitution Street will also close after the holiday and reopen in spring 2021. Additionally, the announcement said the company’s Robinson Crossing location will be closed indefinitely at the end of 2020.
Despite closings, renovations and change, Jennii said she and Adrian are committed to continuing their service to the Norman community.
In order to add more to their menu, Jennii said she went to the Texas Coffee School to learn how to make quality coffee drinks. The couple is also purchasing all their coffee from Oklahoma City outfit KLLR Coffee to support a fellow local business.
While building their shaved ice and coffee empire, Jennii said she and Adrian are trying to diverge from the typical culture of coffee shops to make their locations more inviting to families, while still providing a comforting environment.
“I think most coffee shops cater to adults or students, and they want it to be very trendy, like a chill, relaxed environment,” Jennii said. “And while we want that too, we also want those moms that have young children to have a place to come and meet up together. We want families to come here and feel comfortable. ... So for our coffee shop here we have students that come and study, we have adults that have their meetup, but we welcome families from all walks of life. We welcome everybody to come here to be able to enjoy.”
Jennii said Beanstalk will continue to participate in fundraisers with anyone who wishes to host them while also coordinating with Norman Public Schools and OU to offer promotions for students and teachers.
Besides its approach to customer and community service, Jennii said Beanstalk is unique because it’s one of the few drive-thru coffee options in Norman that also takes a different approach to coffee. Beanstalk provides several options, from basic coffee and snow cones to drinks that combine those two items to create special flavors.
As the Buendias close the door on the Eskimo Sno and move forward with their new brand, Jennii said there’s some magic in the Beanstalk name an employee came up with during a brainstorming session.
“Instantly I had the imagery of Jack and the Beanstalk and having magic beans, which you can relate to coffee beans, and the Beanstalk goes up in the air where there's snow and it's cold, and we have snow, so it made sense,” Jennii said. “And that name was very whimsical and fairy-tale like, and I knew that would be something that everybody can relate to. Everybody knows the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and I knew it was something we could turn into something special.”