• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 25s

Coffee company carves niche in caffeinated market

By Kirsten Swann 6:00 PM December 12, 2013

Just a year after going into business, Cabo Coffee employs 25 people at five locations and has big plans for expansion.

ANCHORAGE – Molly Bates’ career in coffee began with a four-cup-a-day habit and a love for business.

Today, Cabo Coffee includes four drive-through huts and plans for a new café inside City Hall. In the community where coffee stands line every major roadway, the burgeoning new brand has managed to carve its own niche in an already-saturated market.

“Business is just really fun for us,” said Molly, who also operates several medical businesses with her husband, Kyle Bates.

From an unassuming office tucked into a Tudor Road strip mall, the couple described how it all began. Molly would buy several specialty coffee drinks every day. Kyle would add up the receipts. Maybe they should open their own coffee stand, they mused. Kyle surfed Craigslist for huts for sale, and the more they considered the idea, the more realistic it seemed.

It was August by the time they bought their first shop – an old stand on the corner of Spenard and Minnesota. Two months later, they were open for business.

The journey was only just beginning.

Through a combination of strategic branding, targeted customer engagement and business savvy cultivated through years of experience, Cabo Coffee took off. Just a few months later, the Bates’ were on the hunt for a second stand. Then, a third.

“I looked at it like, you know what, I’m gonna try and take the market,” Kyle said.

By the summer of 2013, less than a year after opening up for business, Cabo Coffee was operating four stands from South Anchorage to Government Hill.

When the small coffee shop space on the first floor of City Hall opened up for lease shortly thereafter, the Bates saw yet another opportunity.

“It’s been a lot of legwork,” Molly said. “A lot of knowing who to talk to.”

But the legwork paid off. With 25 employees and steady, daily business, Kyle said his company’s secret to success was simple, albeit surprising.

“I’m not really worried about anyone else,” he said.

Not Kaladis, not Café Del Mundo, not Common Grounds or any of the other drive-by stands dotting street corners and parking lots around Anchorage.

Molly said her company focuses on delivering consistent customer service and a quality product from accessible locations. Customers come to expect things like chocolate-covered espresso beans on cup lids and coupons for local businesses printed on cardboard sleeves, and Cabo employees are rewarded for their success by financial incentives and other perks.

She said the company aimed to become a desirable brand, not just another quick cup.

“It’s a different attitude, but I think it appeals to people,” she said.

While data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows more than 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years, Kyle Bates said his company still had big plans for upward expansion.

“Honestly, my goal is to have 10 to 15 of these bad boys,” he said.

 

Latest Stories

  • News

    Bienvenidos! Spanish newspaper launches in Anchorage

    by Shannon Ballard on May 05, 22:28

    Thursday was Cinco De Mayo. For some people that means margaritas and Mexican food, but a group of Latinos who call Alaska home celebrated with the launch of a new bilingual newspaper. It’s called Sol De Media Noche, which means Midnight Sun. The paper advocates for a community that its writers say is often overlooked. “We’re […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Clean Air Challenge and the ride for Nancy

    by Emily Carlson on May 05, 22:01

    When Nancy Ferrell found out she had lung cancer, she didn’t complain. The emergency room nurse smiled through cancer and looked classy during radiation. But nagging at the back of her mind; one fear that daughter Dana McDonald said, she just couldn’t shake. “I remember my mom wasn’t one to cry. The only one time […]

  • News

    Alaska Air Guardsmen recognized for daring 2015 rescue

    by Bonney Bowman on May 05, 21:42

    A daring rescue has earned Alaska Air National Guardsmen prestigious recognition. The Jolly Green Association awarded the 210th and 211th rescue squadrons the 2015 Rescue Mission of the Year. The rescue happened while the guardsmen were deployed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in 2015. Two Saudi Arabian F-15 fighter pilots went down over […]

  • News

    Anchorage police see a spike in suicide related calls

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 05, 21:20

    Anchorage police say they are seeing an increase in calls for suicide and it’s possible the change in seasons is to blame. Victor Spence with Anchorage Community Mental Health said more sunlight and warmer weather can bring on a good mood, but for people considering suicide it could be the boost they need to go […]

  • News

    Alaska House passes criminal justice overhaul

    by Liz Raines on May 05, 20:51

    Major changes could be coming to Alaska’s prison system. The Alaska House passed a nearly 200 page bill that includes shortened prison sentences, alternative methods of parol, and provisions to reduce the number of people currently held in pretrial facilities. The measure is the product of a report put forward by the Alaska Criminal Justice […]

  • Lifestyle

    Teen pregnancy rates drop nationwide, Alaska still above average

    by Eric Ruble on May 05, 20:39

    In the last 10 years, the birth rate among American teenagers has dropped nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Alaska, the teenage birth rate dropped 35 percent in just six years, according to the Department of Health and Social Services. Nationwide, there are roughly 25 births per 1,000 teens, […]

  • Lifestyle

    FDA unveils new regulations on e-cigarettes

    by CBS News on May 05, 18:57

    Hundreds of electronic cigarette brands will have to undergo federal review to stay on the market under new rules that have the potential to upend a multi-billion dollar industry attempting to position itself as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday released long-awaited rules that bring the burgeoning industry under federal oversight. […]

  • Politics

    Legislature passes bill limiting who can teach sex education

    by Associated Press on May 05, 17:27

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Legislature has passed an education bill that limits who can teach sex education in public schools. Passage came Thursday after the House revived the measure, rescinding a vote from a day earlier in which the bill had failed. This time, the measure narrowly passed. The bill, from Rep. Wes […]