roy Hailpern of Elevate Coffee Co. knows 2020—his 10th year in business—has been challenging. But it was eased a bit by his “great facility,” “great landlords,” and his outside space that allowed for social distancing.
“People really supported local businesses,” he added about his patrons. “They’ve bought gift cards, they bought larger drinks and they did that just to support us in any way they could.”
A 10th anniversary is especially relevant in a time when many small businesses have closed. During the last decade, the locally owned shop has become a true part of its community and a comfortable gathering place for people to enjoy a regular lineup of events such as art shows, small-group celebrations and charity fundraisers.
Hailpern hosted live music on Fridays and Saturdays at his company in the Shops at Norterra, but the COVID-19 pandemic squashed that. To ease back into it, Hailpern invited TJ Rifkin to perform. In turn, the singer donated his tips to the coffee company.
“He’s known around town for his church work,” Hailpern said. “He’s a young man, all of 22 years old.
“The next time he came in, we put it back in his tip jar. I like to think that’s what our community is made of. They’re coming down for a good drink and good food. We’re always going to give the best service we can.”
The shop serves specialty small-batch coffee and espresso featuring beans that have been carefully roasted in-house. Elevate offers all-day breakfast, a selection of fresh salads and sandwiches, and sweet and savory crepes.
“We named ourselves a ‘coffee company’ because we offer espresso drinks and nonespresso drinks,” said Hailpern, who learned about stellar customer service while working at Safeway. “We make drinks and beverages—everything from lattes to mochas to coffees. Our No. 1 drink is a chai latte, which doesn’t have coffee in it but tea.
“We are very popular for blended drinks—frappes and smoothies, for those who like things blended and iced. Six years ago, I set out to do something in the food arena that paralleled what we’re doing in the coffee arena. We brought in crepes. We have savory crepes, which are more like a meal. The ones that people are most aware of are the sweet ones. I think we’re one of the few, in the arena, that offer crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’ve done very well in our breakfast. Our breakfast burrito is the No. 1 seller, followed by our Elevate breakfast sandwich.”
Dedicated to giving back to the community, Elevate connects with local schools by displaying student artwork and hosts live music concerts with school choirs and bands. Additionally, 10 cents of every latte purchase is donated to Water 4 Kids International, a nonprofit committed to providing safe water for children in Africa.
“It’s a subset of Hope for Kids International,” he explained. “We’ve been able to do Walk for Water and coin drives. We’re working on our 10th water well with the community’s support. It’s not all Elevate. It’s the Elevate community. They’re $10,500 apiece. We feel really good about that.”
For Hailpern, it comes down to his customers.
“When we opened Elevate Coffee Co. 10 years ago, we thought we were going into the coffee business,” Hailpern said. “It didn’t take long to realize we were actually in the people business. We want to inspire people and lift them up, and nurturing people with great coffee and food is a good first step.”