I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Heidy, co-owner of Issaquah Coffee Company (ICC). A local himself, Ryan felt that Issaquah needed a coffee shop that the community could call their own while enjoying coffee made from top quality beans and baked goods from well known local roasters and bakers. In addition, he and his partner, Mike Swingle, wanted everyone to feel that ICC was there home away from home, where people could visit with friends and family, kids could play in their play area and workers could work remotely. With Ryan’s “front of the house” skills and Mike’s “back of the house” skills, it made sense to move forward with their venture. With their own money, Ryan and Mike moved forward in what some would consider a crowded market.
Although there are three different Starbucks, a Tully’s and Panera Bread within a half mile, Issaquah Coffee Company is consistently busy due to its appeal to the local community. Through word of mouth and handing out coupons, ICC was able to create brand awareness and thus entice new customers to visit and at the same time, rewarded existing customers so that they would continue to spread the news. In addition, they ran a couple of ads in the local paper and took to Twitter and Facebook in order to inform their followers about the new coffee in stock and sponsored events taking place at the shop. They work with a local marketing company to keep their website fresh and up-to-date so that ICC has continued success in reaching its customers.
Moving forward, Ryan would like to focus on retention of existing customers. He firmly believes that you have to deliver on what you advertise. The Issaquah Coffee Company advertises a Seattle-like coffee shop with a homey feel that delivers top quality coffee and baked goods with excellent customer service. This is why retention, rather than growth is his main priority. They currently offer a loyalty rewards card that starts earning 10% of purchases immediately. In addition, they have sponsored a local bike team, Issaquah Food Bank, local auctions and most recently, the Issaquah High School Poetry Slam. All of this is done in hopes that the local community is aware of their commitment to the community and to express their gratitude in helping them become as successful as they are.