Coffee: uniquely Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has a rich logging history and an insatiable passion for coffee, so why not combine the two? It just so happens that Tonuah Trujillo and fiance Eric Proudfoot had been kicking around that very idea for several years, resulting in the recent opening of the Sawdust Coffee Co. at the Factory Stores at North Bend shopping mall.

"We just always wanted a themed coffee shop," said Trujillo.

Already experienced at running a drive-through stand in Tacoma, Trujillo and Proudfoot, who live in the Redmond area, jumped at the opportunity to move up in the coffee business.

"We just heard that the mall wanted a coffee shop here so we just came and knocked on the door," said Trujillo. One step led to another and before they knew it, the pair had a chance to bring their dream to life.

When it came time to start pulling the shop together, Trujillo and Proudfoot cut loose with ideas they had been thinking about for years. There are the old logging photographs that have been in Proudfoot's family for generations; lovingly crafted chunks of wood, including an 18-foot red sequoia countertop; and a massive, rusty old saw blade hanging above the order counter.

The logging theme doesn't stop with the name or the decor. Beverages come in sizes like "Stump," "Rigger," "Timberbeast" and the 32-ounce "Sasquatch." Flavors include "Mt. Si Mudd," "Black Forest Mocha," "German Lumberjack" and "Butterscotch Landslide."

"When we started thinking about doing this, we thought we'd have fun with it," said Proudfoot.

In addition to the logging-themed beverage menu, the Sawdust Coffee Co. features homemade baked goods, sandwiches and original sauces.

All of this is designed to give the Sawdust Coffee Co. a uniquely local feel, helping to distinguish it from the Starbucks or Tullys found on almost any corner. Despite the historic logging theme, the shop is up to date with the latest technology, offering free WiFi Internet service to customers. The public seems to like the approach.

"People love having that connection with the Valley," said Proudfoot.

Another difference is something the pair brought with them from their drive-through days: a wider selection of flavors than normally found at a coffee shop. Sawdust Cafe sells drinks brewed from wood-roasted Caffe D arte coffe beans.

"We kind of took the drive-through concept into a cafe, because that's what we knew," said Trujillo.

Part of helping the current location succeed is attracting a bigger weekday morning crowd. Given her experience, Trujillo knows that people like fast service in the morning. But as more of a cafe person, Proudfoot knows that some will go out of their way for the chance to sit down with the morning paper and a hot cup of "Joe." In an effort to attract more morning visitors, the Sawdust Coffee Co. runs a happy hour from 6-9 a.m. when they offer a variety of special deals.

The Sawdust Coffee Co. is open Mondays though Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Call (425) 831-7656 for more information. The Factory Stores are located at 461 South Fork Ave. S.W., North Bend.

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