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Small Business Spotlight

Café Organic: A Health Journey

Karin and Ed Frisbee, the proprietors of Café Organic located in Fort Walton Beach, first met in Atlanta while both were studying to be chiropractors.  Upon completing their degrees, they were ready to take the next step in their life together and their professional careers. Since Ed had a connection in Northwest Florida, they decided to relocate  to Okaloosa County to start a family as well as a business. The Frisbees started their own chiropractic business in 1987, and they have been in business together ever since. They also have four children – two of whom now play vital roles in making the family businesses successful.

As the Frisbees continued in the chiropractic business, they started to realize that people need more guidance for healthy living. Their first step to incorporate more guidance for their clients was to add more services to their business. The Frisbee’s began to include massage therapists, yoga instructors, and other health-based practices. After adding these services and becoming what is known as The Center for Healthy Living, the Frisbees realized there was still a piece of the health equation missing from their business. When they discovered the missing piece was food, they were inspired to open the Emerald Coast Organic Non-Profit Food Co-op, which makes buying organic foods as affordable as possible.

After spending time in the new environment of healthy food and watching the co-op grow from 12 families to around 100 families, the Frisbees wanted to take the food business to the next level. Karin felt that providing organic ingredients was beneficial to the community, but creating meals with those ingredients may not always be a quick, easy task. Karin envisioned a place where people could buy and eat fully prepared meals that were also organic and healthy. This desire spurred the creation of Café Organic, located at 113 Truxton Ave in Fort Walton Beach.

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, Karin explained that one of her favorite aspects is the flexibility. While starting a business was a priority for Karin and Ed, so was starting a family. The ability to decide her own hours and have a reliable business partner in her husband made it possible for Karin to both have a job and raise a family. Another aspect Karin loves is the ability to educate the community. In life, people do not always have opportunity to live out their dreams or passions. By opening the Center for Healthy Living, Organic Food Co-op, and Café Organic, the Frisbee’s were able to live out their dream of starting a health movement in Northwest Florida.

Karin attributes her success to hard work. Whether that means getting up early, going to bed late, or juggling a job while having four kids, Karen explains, “You have to put in the time to reach your goals.” However, putting in the time does not always have to be difficult – Karin believes if you love what you are doing and are passionate about it, then it does not always feel like hard work. Additionally, she credits her success to the support of her husband, family, sisters, and kids. She explained that having a network of loved ones to support and believe in her has made all the difference.

Advice corner:

  1. Know what it is that you want to do, clearly define it, and be dedicated to it.
  2. Work hard to become excellent at one thing, whatever it is, before moving on to the next thing.
  3. Be mindful and educate yourself on what you want to do. It is important to know what you’re getting into. Karin explained that she knew how to run a business and treat clients in a chiropractic field, but she had to learn how to manage a café. 
  4. Lastly, she advises not to spread yourself too thin financially. Prepare and ensure there are enough resources to accomplish what you need to do.