• 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

  • Sports

    UAA indoor track and field adapting with Dome out of commission

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 11:39

    The collapse of The Dome has the University of Alaska Anchorage indoor track and field team running back home. “We’re going to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do,” said head coach Michael Friess, who’s now in his 27th season. “We’re going to train hard and fortunately we’re in a sport […]

  • Sports

    Stielstra, Neese will run Yukon Quest following decision by rules committee

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 10:24

    Ed Stielstra is an Iditarod veteran. The 47-year-old’s first of eight races was in 2004. But as a first-time Yukon Quest racer, he’s considered a rookie, and was required to appear at a pre-race vet check Monday morning. According a press release by the Yukon Quest, Stielstra arrived late and was withdrawn from the race […]

  • News

    Trump signs executive actions advancing Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines

    by CBS/AP on Jan 24, 8:33

    Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday, including two that would advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a pair of projects that were blocked by the Obama administration due in part to environmental concerns. As he signed the memo, the president said of the Keystone XL pipeline that it was “something’s that’s been in […]

  • Lifestyle

    2017 Oscars: And the nominees are…

    by CBS News on Jan 24, 7:33

    Last Updated Jan 24, 2017 10:30 AM EST The coveted list of nominees for the Oscars were announced Tuesday morning from Hollywood. “La La Land” led the pack with 14 nominations. Academy unveils big changes for announcing Oscar nominations Former Oscar nominees, including Jennifer Hudson, Gabourey Sidibe and Guillermo Del Toro, talked about what it was like […]

  • 2 men taken to hospital after Muldoon shooting; 1 in critical condition

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 5:19

    Police say two men were taken to the hospital after an overnight shooting in Muldoon. The Anchorage Police Department was called to the area of Muldoon Road and E. 12th Court just after 1 a.m. Further investigation revealed the shooting happened down the street near the 100 block of Muldoon Road, says APD Lt. John McKinnon. One […]

  • News

    New housing development set to break ground near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 22:53

    Plans for a new housing project near downtown Anchorage are well underway, according to its developer.  Known as Downtown Edge, the development is part of a larger project designed to improve an area between downtown and the Port of Anchorage. Downtown Edge will consist of 28 townhouses that will boast a view of Mount Susitna, […]

  • News

    Anchorage skier killed by avalanche in Canada

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 22:50

    A 32-year-old Anchorage woman died in Canada Saturday morning after she and two friends were caught in an avalanche. The group had been skiing in the back country near Qua Peak in British Columbia when the avalanche occurred, according to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). “The three were described as experienced […]

  • Troopers: Home invasion turns into homicide investigation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 21:29

    What was initially reported by Alaska State Troopers as a home invasion and shooting has since become a homicide investigation. In an online dispatch published Monday morning, troopers said the incident was reported at 8:47 p.m. on Sunday in Soldotna. One person was injured and taken to Central Peninsula Hospital with life-threatening injuries, the Peninsula […]