July 27, 1998
Michelle Liu/staff photo
Tiffany and Austin Gregory enjoy a cup of java decorated with latte art.
by Michelle Liu
The recently opened Coffee Republic already has repeat customers, some have even begun running a tab.
The idea for the new business began when owners Austin and Tiffany Gregory went out for coffee one night at 9 p.m. and discovered no coffee house in Woodinville was open that late. They realized what the niche of their coffee house would be.
After more than a year of planning, tasting and decorating, the Gregorys have opened their coffee house across from City Hall in Woodinville West Center on 132nd Ave. NE.
This isn't a "you're in, you're out" type of coffee shop, or at least that's not what the Gregorys have envisioned. Each drink is made with fresh ingredients and can be customized to the customer's taste.
The Gregorys painted sky, clouds and palm trees on the walls. The theme is very earthy and tropical representing the major coffee regions: Hawaii, South America and Africa. Potted plants, exotic masks and a counter that looks like coffee crates also help to create the illusion.
The warm earth tones of the shop make the customer want to stay and relax.
"It just feels like a community coffee house. We have Candyland, Trivial Pursuit and checkers," Tiffany said.
Before entering the coffee business, Austin worked for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and Tiffany worked for her father decorating the homes of the rich and famous.
They moved back to Washington about a year ago to Austin's hometown, Woodinville, (WHS, 1987.)
Austin said of his job at LAPD, "It was like I was the misery keeper. Now, it's [owning a coffee shop] more service oriented; that's what I wanted to do."
To start the company they used the money they had saved for a downpayment on a home and sold their Jeep and Harley. The main goal of their venture was to work together.
Now, they are running the business themselves. Tiffany said, "Some people said 'you're gonna crash!' But, we're so excited about it ... I was scared. It was sink or swim, but it's ok."
Austin doesn't see this business venture as a major money making machine. "We'll never get rich, but we're both passionate and into it. We love coffee. We're making a living and enjoying what we do," Austin said.
Bob Christian, the first customer to set up a tab, said he likes the convenience of Coffee Republic.
"I don't have to go across town anymore; it takes about 20 minutes to go from one end of Woodinville to the other," Christian said.
You don't have to be a coffee connoisseur to order a drink from the Coffee Republic. The Gregorys use plain English when helping customers decide what to order.
For example, milk and coffee is a latte. A mocha is milk, coffee and chocolate. Skinny means nonfat milk and short, tall and grande are small, medium and large.
Coffee Republic has a wide selection of lattes, granitas, Italian sodas, teas and baked treats. They use Seattle based Caffe Vitta.
"We created a place where people can have a good cup of coffee, and if they say this is a good cup of coffee they'll come back. That makes my day," Tiffany said.
Coffee Republic is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.