Art of coffee: Cle Elum's veteran roaster Pioneer opening North Bend shop

Opening a business is never an easy undertaking; but, when it’s in your hometown, there’s a sense you have to do everything right. This is home, after all.

When the opportunity to open a Pioneer Coffee retail location in North Bend arose, Pioneer Coffee Roasting Company owners JoAnna and Chris Madsen didn’t waste much time.

After first spending time with a drive-thru location in Fall City, Chris Madsen started Pioneer in Cle Elum more than 10 years ago. The company has grown to include not only wholesale coffee roasting and supplying commercial clients across the country and online, but also two retail cafes located in Cle Elum and West Seattle.

But JoAnna Madsen’s mother, Julie Pleasants, who now serves as the company’s general manager, and sister, DeAnna Haverfield, who serves as Pioneer’s wholesale and customer service manager, wanted to return to North Bend, which the family has called home for some time. Both Madsen and Haverfield grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Haverfield still lives here, and had been commuting to Cle Elum to work for more than a year.

“We knew North Bend would be a great place for a Pioneer Café location and that DeAnna would be ecstatic to not have to commute so far,” Madsen said.

Haverfield said she is visualizing the new Pioneer Coffee café in North Bend as a place where the community will come together. She said she’s focusing her excitement and positive anxiousness into making sure the Valley community feels at home. She has to pause during conversation because furniture—including a very comfy couch—is arriving.

“Pioneer is a very community-oriented company,” Madsen said. We plan to be involved in as much as possible—supporting youth is important to us, and other local businesses, as well.” In fact, much of the preparations for the new North Bend location were put on hold while the entire clan attended the Snoqualmie Valley Little League opening day ceremonies on April 28 at Torguson Park.

In the coming days, the entire Pioneer Coffee team also will need to decide on additional lighting, a coat of paint, diaper changing stations, as well as where the café’s traditional mural will be created.

But the three women have a bit of a blueprint already with the Cle Elum location of Pioneer Coffee.

“North Bend will have a similar look and feel to Cle Elum,” Madsen said. “The products will also be the same for the most part, with some special items and a more kid-friendly menu.”

Doors to the North Bend Pioneer café will open on May 12, with a more formal grand opening event to come a few weeks later, Pleasants said.

“We’ll be occupying a spot where a lot of folks were already coming together,” Haverfield said. “My hope is that we can elevate that even further.”

“It’s about the coffee,” she said, quoting the Pioneer Coffee slogan, “but it’s also about community. This is home; I’m home; I want everyone to feel that way when they come in, too.”

Above, CEO  Chris Madsen tests out one of his first roasters when the company was brand new 11 years ago in Cle Elum.

Above, because of their hometown roots in the Snoqualmie Valley, Pioneer Coffee has sponsored a Snoqualmie Valley Little League team.    The whole business family was present for opening day ceremonies.


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