• 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

    Anchorage family wants justice after 12-year-old deaf boy’s dog killed in hit and run

    by Sierra Starks on Sep 30, 20:20

    A broken red collar is a reminder that there’s something missing at Valerie Anderson’s East Anchorage home. It’s the collar that belonged to Scooby Doo, the family’s labrador retriever, who was 12-year-old J.J. Anderson’s best friend. J.J has special needs and wears cochlear implants to hear. The family got Scooby to be a companion for […]

  • Lifestyle

    Make it Alaskan Festival kicks off holiday craft show season

    by Heather Hintze on Sep 30, 18:59

    Like its name suggests, everything you’ll find at the Make it Alaskan Festival is made in Alaska. While most of the 140 vendors came with a complete inventory to the show at the Sullivan Arena, artists like Sarah Chatfield continued to piece together products in their free time. “I try to stay busy while I’m […]

  • News

    UAA team works to find new ways to bring running water to rural Alaska

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 30, 18:55

    It’s something most people in Anchorage take for granted — running water. But according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), more than 3,300 homes in rural Alaska don’t have running water or a flush toilet. Several years ago the DEC started the Water and Sewer Challenge. Teams were challenged to find innovative ways to bring […]

  • News

    APD: 1 dead in West Anchorage industrial accident

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 17:48

    A man was killed, Friday afternoon, when a wall he and another man were removing collapsed, the Anchorage Police Department (APD) wrote in a release. Few details were immediately available, but at 3:34 p.m. emergency responders were called to a four-plex on the 1500 block of W. 40 Avenue. Police said the men were removing […]

  • Lifestyle

    DOF: Alaska wraps up minor fire season

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 15:40

    Alaska had an early start to the wildfire season, but the Division of Forestry (DOF) says the total number of acres burned this year were “well below normal level.” In a release from DOF, the agency wrote there were 558 fires, which burned 500,095 acres. In Interior Alaska, during the two summer months that typically […]

  • News

    UN appoints first expert on LGBT violence and discrimination

    by Associated Press on Sep 30, 15:09

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The Human Rights Council has appointed international human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand as the first U.N. independent expert charged with investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. John Fisher, Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, said his appointment on Friday “made history” and “will bring […]

  • News

    Berkowitz announces cuts to fill $40M budget gap, plans to increase police force

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 13:35

    The Municipality of Anchorage faces an estimated $40 million budget gap, according to numbers released by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz at a meeting Friday. The municipality’s 2017 budget is $502 million, up from $497 million in 2016. “We are dealing with tough times in Anchorage and we are dealing with tough times because the state has […]

  • News

    Consumer demand for Alaska cruises growing again

    by Rachel D'Oro / AP on Sep 30, 13:28

    A growing consumer demand for Alaska cruises has put the state back in the million-passenger club as it rebounds after a leaner stretch. And next year is expected to be even better with larger capacity ships added to the Far North lineup. The millionth passenger was counted as the Alaska cruise industry’s season was nearing […]