Photography by Kathy Tran
White Rock Coffee takes coffee seriously. After opening in 2005, it has expanded to own a commercial bakery, roaster, warehouse and a handful of locations. Owners even bought the Jack in the Box next door to create a lab for employee training and public coffee classes. But it seems like neighbors take it even more seriously. When a Starbucks opened next door, neighbors fumed. They frequently go online to defend White Rock Coffee. Why are neighbors fiercely loyal?
THE FOOD IS ACTUALLY GOOD
Sometimes coffee shop food purchases are a last-minute grab for someone who forgot to pack a lunch. That’s not the case with White Rock Coffee. “They have good food choices in a pinch,” customer Jennifer Cluney says. “I can zip through the drive-thru and pick up a breakfast, snack or lunch.” All pastries are cooked from scratch in the White Rock Coffee bakery. “We have monthly meetings with our bake shop manager, and we come together with recipes,” owner Nancy Baker says. The hometown cooking even comes down to the chicken salad recipe, which is from Baker’s mother. “We always wanted to be very coffee centric, so our food is very intentional on how it pairs,” she says.
Walking into White Rock Coffee can feel like a sitcom episode in which the barista knows your name and order. “Not only the best coffee, but a very special place,” customer Jutta Preston says. “Great personnel, super customer service.” Employees are screened for their ability to form relationships. “I’m pretty sure my family has gotten White Rock Coffee at least five times a week since the COVID-19 shelter-in-place [order] in March,” customer Michelle Ball says. “Above all, it’s the customer service that keeps me loyal. At every location, the people serving me have always been kind, cheerful and helpful.”
IT FEELS LIKE HOME
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