Jun 8, 2008

Small business = good

logo Last weekend I was driving through SoDo and passed a little warehouse space with a Stella sign out front. I had heard their coffee was great from someone at work so I stopped in to see what I'd find.

I found Rob Wilson, the founder of the coffee company. The space had a lot of equipment from a photo shoot lying around a small coffee bar in the front of the room. Rob welcomed me in and though it didn't look like a working "coffee shop," I asked if they sold drinks. Rob laughed and fixed me up with a latte, free of charge.

I told him I'd love buy beans as 'thanks' but my espresso maker was busted. It's a cheapo machine that hasn't worked in about two years. So Rob asked a bit about the machine, ground up a bag of beans, and told me to try them out. If it still didn't work with those beans, he said, "bring in the machine and I'll fix it." Wow.

After thanking him profusely I walked out the door -- certain it was a mechanical problem and not beans. But he's the pro so I agreed to try them and report back. And what do you know...

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This morning I pulled the first great espresso, with crema, out of my maker since moving to Seattle.

Rob was only too happy to send a random guy on his way with a drink, beans, and an offer to fix his junked machine. I'm not a cafe owner and may not even have a working machine to use his beans with! Stella is defining customer service and reminding me why small business is good.

Next time I need beans I'll be heading off the Hill to Stella on 4th Ave S -- check it out and say 'hey' to Rob if you're in the area.

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