By Carrie Wenninger | CNA Media Team
Couple Trae and Sarah Pearson have a playful, long-standing habit of bantering around small business ideas. They came up with the concept for KISS Coffee three years ago.
However, when Trae’s mother brought to their attention the businessfor-sale listing she had seen online, the conversation shifted quickly from dream to possibility. On June 9, the cafe door at 3016 N.E. Ainsworth St. opened and KISS Coffee became a reality.
This tiny yet inviting retail space was formerly the Cottage Pantry, and had previous incarnations as a massage studio, a flower shop and another coffee shop.
Executive chef and sous chef respectively, Trae and Sarah worked together previously at Westwind, a nonprofit camp for kids on the Oregon coast.
There they enjoyed the challenge of crafting the ingredients on hand into innovative and delicious fare while using seasonal variety and avoiding waste.
They bring the same philosophy and creativity to their coffee business.
For those deeply involved in a relationship with caffeine, the name conjures up warm, desirous feelings for that dark and brewing elixir.
Turns out it’s less about romance and more about straight-up good stuff without the fuss.
“KISS, the way we’ve envisioned it, stands for ‘keep it sweet and simple,’” Trae said. “You start with a solid base, which means using good beans. We source ours from Seven Virtues, another small, local business.
“Then offer simple but interesting food options.”
Their flavoring syrups are made from scratch, and there are plans for a small kitchen. “We’d like to have grab-n-go salads, standard and reliable options, and a few seasonal and rotating items to keep things engaging,” Sarah added.
Both have years of coffee industry experience, and Sarah also works as office manager at Icicle Tricycles.
Their home brewing method of choice? “French press,” they said in perfect unison.
Opening at 7:30 a.m. weekdays has brought in early rising Concordia University students. And neighbors have been welcoming, enjoying outdoor cafe tables when weather allows since there’s no indoor seating option. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekends.
“The connections that coffee makes are a big part of the enjoyment for us,” Sarah shared. “We are very excited to become part of the community and to be good neighbors.”
KISS Coffee hosts a Concordia Neighborhood Association mixer Sept. 21, but you’re welcome to stop by sooner to sample the sweet and simple selections.
Carrie Wenninger lives on 29th Avenue in Concordia. She is a freelance writer, a mom, a world traveler and a small business marketing consultant. Contact her at WurdGurl@gmail.com.