Old Shasta Coffee Company Owners: We want to be the ‘neighborhood cafe’

 Join me in welcoming Jodi Fogelin to ANC today as we discuss the opening of  Old Shasta Coffee Company on Eureka Way in Redding, owned by Jodi and Eric Fogelin.

Jodi and Eric Fogelin recently opened Old Shasta Coffee Company in the Ace Hardware Shopping Center on Eureka Way in Redding.

Hi, Jodi. Welcome to ANC, and thanks for taking time to chat with me about your new business, Old Shasta Coffee Company, that you opened in February. First, can you tell me a bit about you and your husband?

Yes of course! Eric and I moved here about five years ago just looking for some sunshine and a new adventure. My brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew live here. They gave us the “hard sell” tour of all the beautiful places and things to do in Redding. We instantly loved the river trails, Whiskeytown, the mountains and Benton Airport. We have a small float-plane so having an airport right in town was also a real draw for us. You know, everybody asks us, “What brought you here?” which we now find kind of funny. Most people assume it’s for one particular reason. My family was of course a big reason, but we’re really just up for any kind of adventure if it feels right to us. If we both agree on something, we’ll go for it.

We moved here from Whidbey Island, Washington. We have a 25-year-old daughter, a dog that we share from time to time, a crazy house up on a hill in Old Shasta with a killer view of the Lassen range, and imaginations that fuel our ever growing passion for adventure.

So interesting, especially the part about your float-plane. So cool. Thank you. Now, I’m really curious, what led to the opening of your coffee shop?

Oh gosh … we are always talking about what we’re going to do next. We’re not good at sitting still, so new ventures are something we often talk about. Before we moved to Redding, we worked for a coffee roasting company in the Pacific Northwest where we learned about the coffee industry; everything from start to finish. Coffee-growing regions, the incredibly hard-working farmers and their families, roasting styles, how to create blends for various coffee preparations … there are a thousand things to learn, and all are very interesting.

Because we both fell in love with the coffee industry, we talked about opening our own coffee shop if the chance arose. We started looking at the necessary things we felt would make a location, a GOOD location: correct side of the street for commuters, a well-traveled street, in or near a neighborhood, convenient and ample parking, other established businesses close by, and being near two schools was just icing on the cake. We chose the Westside Plaza for all of these reasons, and then waited. We waited about two years before we saw a “50% off” sign in the Thrift Store window. I immediately called Ace Hardware and inquired about the space. We secured it two weeks later.

Clearly, you gave this decision a lot of thought, and I’m glad. I should just admit that selfishly, I’m delighted by your business because it’s a neighborhood place that I can actually walk to from my home. And your place is so welcoming and tastefully decorated. As someone who lives in the area, I remember what that space looked like before. I know that you had a lot to do to transform your space into the way it is now. What did you start with, and what did the remodeling entail?

Photo source: Old Shasta Coffee Company Facebook page.

Thank you! We’re glad you can walk there, too. We’ve met so many amazing people and neighbors who live right around us. We can’t believe what a cool area it is. We’re overwhelmed with the warm welcome from everyone. It’s more than we hoped for and so humbling.

When we signed the lease, we had a lot of work ahead of us. Eric was actually still recovering from a ladder accident so we started slowly. He’s amazing with the engineering side of things, so we worked together on the computer with a CAD program and started designing our space. We knew we wanted a comfy, coffee-house feel that we’d grown accustomed to. Coming from the Seattle area, you get spoiled with artsy coffee houses, and amazing coffee. They’re all unique, and really fun, filled with characters from all walks of life. We just love that. So we wanted a combination of funky, comfy, a bit modern and a clean style while somehow tying in our new favorite place, Old Shasta. We love the brick buildings and the history of our little town, and the people… just amazing … people we consider family after only living here for a short time.

I love a good remodeling project, and you two nailed it. You’ve created a really comfortable place that feels open, arty and welcoming. Can you talk about your range of customers?

Thank you so much. We’ve gotten a lot of really nice compliments on our shop. We’ve met close to 2,000 people in the short time we’ve been open, including teachers and other faculty from across the street, students who come in at lunch time or after school, (I love that we can offer them a safe place to hang out) professionals commuting to work, people in book clubs, RPD and CHP (love these guys and gals), fellow pilots, and people just passing through headed to the coast who see our sign and turn in to grab a quick cup. You know we tried to figure out what our main demographic would be but we really don’t have one. It’s everyone who wants to enjoy a good cup of coffee in a cozy coffeehouse. That’s our demographic.

Well said. Now, your business is on Eureka Way, across the street from two schools. Is that a problem?

You know, we’re actually surprised that the kids aren’t ordering a bunch of Red Bull drinks! We really thought that’s what they’d be ordering, and they’re not. They like matcha lattes, blended coffee drinks, and they even order an Americano from time to time, which is just amazing to me. They’ll try our drink specials and they like iced drinks, too. One sweet girl left a tiny note next to her cup that said, “Thank you for the delicious coffee and amazing service”. I pinned it to our community board.

That is sweet. It must make all the hard work worthwhile. Now, can you talk about what you serve?

Sure! We serve what I’d call standard coffeehouse drinks. Americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, breve, chai, brewed coffee, etc. We have high-quality flavored syrups and sauces to enhance any of these drinks. We have a selection of non-dairy options: Oat milk, almond milk and coconut milk. Oat milk is new, and a big hit. Our tea selection is all loose leaf (and beautiful) which we hand scoop into individual tea bags. We make our whipped cream in-house with heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. It’s one my favorite jobs because of course I have to taste it to make sure it’s good.

Jodi Fogelin works behind the counter of Old Shasta Coffee Company, owned by Jodi and Eric Fogelin. Photo source: Old Shasta Coffee Company Facebook page.

Our coffee is always the topic of the day. Everyone wants to know where our coffee is from, which seems like the best question to ask. We get our coffee from an amazing roastery called Caffe Umbria. Their roasting facility is in Seattle. One of the founders coincidentally is a high school friend. Although we don’t roast our own coffee (yet), we are thrilled to be serving up coffee from Caffe Umbria. They are pioneers in the industry with roasting knowledge passed down through generations. One of Caffe Umbria’s founders is a third-generation roaster, learning the trade from his father and grandfather who emigrated from Italy. They roast in a traditional fashion using a blend of varietals that produce an amazingly smooth, chocolaty, full-bodied espresso. There are so many variables in coffee roasting and they all have the potential of producing something unique. That being said, we really prefer a bold, full-bodied roast that’s smooth but still packs a punch when served in a latte or other milk based drink. I think what we all want is a great cup of coffee.

Have you settled into a routine yet? What’s a typical day look like for you?

You know, just this morning when Eric and I were walking through the parking lot at 5:30 a.m. I said, “I’m actually feeling pretty good, how about you?” He laughed and said, “Me too!”  So I guess the 4:30 a.m. alarm isn’t feeling like the middle of the night anymore. I thought that would NEVER happen!

We’re up at 4:30 a.m. and head down the mountain at about 5:15. It takes about a half hour to get everything ready for our first early birds at 6 a.m. This morning three of CHP’s finest pulled in at 5:45 and waited for us to open. I just love that. Then at 6:00 we’re open for business and start prepping food for the day. Eric and I have always been a good team, so working together is really a joy for us. I handle the espresso machine and a few of the food items, Eric handles the rest of the food items and several other things during the day. The things we make in house are yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola.

Photo source: Old Shasta Coffee Company Facebook page.

We also make egg-bites (whites and whole eggs) with spinach, prosciutto, seasoning, some with feta and some without, and breakfast sandwich (with egg, dill, spinach, pepper jack cheese and ham). We do a few sandwiches: turkey and Havarti on a croissant, Caprese (tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, pesto and olive oil), ham and pepper jack cheese on an artisan roll with a Caesar spread, fresh spinach salad with feta-strawberries-walnuts-red onion and walnut/raspberry vinaigrette.

Photo source: Old Shasta Coffee Company Facebook page.

Then we carry gluten-free treats from “Measures of Joy”, fresh baked goods from Tantardini’s European bakery, and hope to continue adding items from other local bakers and vendors.

So Eric typically stays and does a bunch of food prep until about 10 or 11 a.m., then heads off to run all kinds of errands. I’m at the shop full time. Eric heads back in around 3:45 or 4 p.m. to help close and finish the day. We usually leave around 4:45, then head back up the hill to get in a quick walk around our property.

Those are pretty full days.

Do you have a philosophy and goal for your business?

Gosh, I feel like we’re successful already, which I mean in the most humble way. We’re exceeding our initial goals already, so we’ll just keep raising the bar for ourselves, (monetarily). We’re hiring two new employees and plan to start reaching out to more local businesses with menus and samples. We’re at the point where we have our systems in place and will try to take part of a day off here and there to meet more of our professional neighbors in the area.

But let’s see … our philosophy and goal for the business. When planning this we both talked about having a place where people feel comfortable to come and sit with friends, have meetings, do homework, zip in and out on their way to work, and visit regularly. Those things are all happening. We want to be the “neighborhood cafe” and our customers are very receptive and are saying those exact words to us, which just makes us so incredibly happy.

To design a space with the sole intention of serving delicious coffee in a comfortable environment, while of course being profitable, is/was harder than you think. As you know, we took our time, almost a year, to design this space. It was an empty shoe box and is now a neighborhood coffee shop. We just couldn’t be more proud. We hope to continue to grow, perhaps expand our current location, and maybe roast up in Old Shasta in the future.

Speaking of Old Shasta, how did you come up with your business name, being as though you’re located in Redding, not Old Shasta?

Photo source: Old Shasta Coffee Company Facebook page.

Because we love our little town so much, and have future dreams of roasting there, the name came easy for us. The brick buildings have so much history and character, they remind us of coffee houses in Seattle. The industrialness (is that even a word?) of an old brick building combined with a cozy couch and coffee table is just something that says “coffee-house” to us. So that type of theme was what we were going for.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk. I wish you and Eric much success. Before we go, is there anything else we’ve forgotten that you’d like to say?

Just a really huge thank you to everyone who’s come in. We really do love the community and will always strive to create delicious coffee drinks, great food all in a very clean and cozy environment. We keep our place spotless, play awesome music and serve up delicious treats. A great coffee shop should be fun. Let’s have fun!

The Old Shasta Coffee Company is located at 2275 Eureka Way, Redding, 96001. Hours: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. 

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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