• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Creek Fire - Read More
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

  • Lifestyle

    Pokemon Go’s popularity could fatten up Apple

    by CBS News on Jul 22, 21:24

    People from coast to coast are falling in love with Pokemon Go, and so are some companies. Count Apple (AAPL) among them. With a share price that has been under pressure this year because of disappointing earnings, Apple may wind up with an unexpected bottom-line boost from Pokemon Go. Though the game is free to download, […]

  • Lifestyle

    Attu: A birding paradise

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 22, 19:23

    No one lives on the Aleutian island of Attu, but every year people pay thousands of dollars to travel to the remote location for one reason — the birds. “You can see species here that you can’t find anywhere else in North America,” said Marianne Aplin, visitor service supervisor for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife […]

  • Politics

    Hillary Clinton picks Tim Kaine to be vice president

    by CBS News on Jul 22, 16:28

    Hillary Clinton says in a text message to supporters that she’s picked Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to join her on the Democratic ticket as their party’s nominee for vice president. In the message, Clinton says: “I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate.” Top Clinton aides had […]

  • Politics

    Walker hires former attorney general as oil, gas consultant

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 15:59

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Gov. Bill Walker has hired Craig Richards as an oil and gas consultant, less than a month after Richards resigned as Alaska’s attorney general. Walker’s office on Friday released the contract signed earlier this week. The contract runs through year’s end and is for up to $50,000. Richards resigned last month […]

  • News

    Alaska unemployment rate stays at 6.7 percent in June

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 15:38

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska’s unemployment stood at 6.7 percent in June, unchanged from a month earlier and up slightly from a year ago. The state Department of Labor says the slight uptick suggests that Alaska’s economy is responding slowly to low oil prices and the challenges facing state government because of those prices. From […]

  • DayBreak

    Fashion Friday: Stock up & save at Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in Anchorage

    by Sierra Starks on Jul 22, 14:40

    The much-anticipated Nordstrom anniversary sale begins Friday, July 22. Shoppers can anticipate major discounts through the sale’s end on Aug. 8, says Kari Skinner with Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale will offer more than just marked-down merchandise from last season; there’s also new merchandise up for grabs at a fraction of the price, Skinner […]

  • Lifestyle

    Are lightning strikes becoming more common?

    by Amy Kraft / CBS News on Jul 22, 14:24

    There have been 16 deaths from lightning in the U.S. so far this year. With seven of those fatalities occurring in the month of July — including three in the past week – it might seem as though lightning strikes are suddenly becoming more common. But over the past decade, the number of injuries and deaths caused […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Rico G TheMayor

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 22, 13:57

    In 2010, Rico G TheMayor started his own record label, Goodfellas Music. Now, the homegrown rapper Rico is set to release a new album in September. His single “Way Out” is already out on iTunes and you can check out his music on SoundCloud. For more on how he started his own career, check out the video […]