Coffee with A Shot of Community

Cody and Danelle Peterson were brewing up something for the community when they started Coeur d’Alene Coffee Company.

All of the profits of the gateway and gathering spot of the Innovation Den go toward employees and area nonprofits, not the Petersons.

“Culture is such an important part of creating success,” said Cody, referring to the reason for the employee profit-sharing program. “When you create the best culture possible, everybody feels like they are part of the team.”

Cody said the intent is to allow employees to make a career out of what they love doing.

“We want employees to make enough to support families, and that isn’t possible in this business without true profit sharing,” said Cody, adding that the business has nine employees.

Manager Heather Gallegos is grounded in the philosophy.

“I really like the community aspect of working here,” she said. “Whether it’s from the buzz of the tenants or the people in the community who appreciate what we are doing, there’s always great energy in the coffee shop.”

Profit sharing gives employees a sense of ownership, she said, so the ripple effect ultimately spreads to the customers, Gallegos said.

“When you have a sense that this is ours, you go above and beyond to succeed,” she said.

Danelle, who handles the company’s finances, said employees have responded superbly.

“Heather and her employees have taken the ball and run with it amazingly well on their own,” Danelle said.

The business has supported various community efforts such as sponsoring the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon, Father Bill’s Kitchen, which serves the homeless, and Kootenai Humane Society.

Families are also part of the blend at the business that includes a rustic atmosphere, huge fireplace and furniture and tabletops built by the Peterson family. Cartoons are shown on the big-screen TV on Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 11 and kids get free hot chocolate.

“It’s a chance for parents to disconnect while their kids watch Bugs Bunny,” Gallegos said.

Cody said actors, pro athletes and top executives from technology firms have stopped in for a jolt of java.

Andy Huska has been a regular customer since the business opened.

“They’ve knocked it out of the park with the atmosphere, staff and coffee,” Huska said. “Specialty coffee changes with time, crops come and go, but they’re passionate about getting the best of the best. Coffee nerds can be over the top with talking about the blends, but the average person who wants something fresh is not inundated here.”

Coffee and innovation have deep roots together, and the two converge at Coeur d’Alene Coffee.

The espresso blend is called “Innovation,” medium roast “Lakeside” (the street the den and business are on), dark roast “Tubbs” and light roast “Startup.”

Cody said that theme is what drives the company to provide superior coffee and experience to customers.

Its coffee is imported from countries around the world, including Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya. It’s all roasted fresh on site by the Petersons’ son, Braden.

The company’s logo is from the French “Coeur d’Alene,” which means “heart of the awl.” It’s a term coined by early French traders in reference to the local Native Americans.

The logo is of an awl, a small pointed tool used for piercing holes in leather, with a heart on it.

The company’s $30,000 Slayer espresso machines, built in Seattle, are considered state-of-the-art in the coffee world, as well as its $50,000 Diedrich roaster made in Sandpoint.

Cody and Rich Thrasher purchased the 35,000-square-foot den, the former Elks building downtown, two years ago. It now has about 60 tenants. The two met a few years ago through the lighting technology company they formed called Rohinni.

“The den is a great technology incubator and hub for innovation, and Danelle and I realized a coffee shop would be perfect to make the building more accessible to the public,” Cody said. “Danelle’s dream has always been to own a coffee shop.”

Coeur d’Alene Coffee celebrated its first anniversary on July 31. Another tenant in the den is Innovation Collective, which facilitates activities in the den.

The 5,000-square-foot Innovation Annex across the street from the den recently opened.

“About half of the space rented out and we want to create a technology startup campus,” Cody said. “We have other expansion plans in the area, but we can’t talk about those right now.”

 

By BRIAN WALKER

© Copyright, 2018, The Coeur d’Alene Press. All Rights Reserved.

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