Two words come to mind when describing locally owned Saddlecreek Coffee Company — community and coffee.
Saddlecreek, located at 28212 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite D6, Cave Creek, strives to offer more than just a quality blend of locally sourced coffee beans. The popular spot, largely owned by entrepreneurs Jim and Julie Prendergast, champions giving back, Saddlecreek Coffee operating partner Heather Evanoff said.
“Saddlecreek, on its simplest level, is a community-based organization designed to cater to the community, support the community and be a place to gather for the community,” explained Evanoff, who manages the day-to-day operations with fellow operating partner Rachael Cebalt.
“That’s what was always intended.”
The coffee shop exists to “serve (our) community” and is branded as a “social enterprise focused on making people feel great and giving back to those in need.”
The company has partnered with numerous nonprofits, as well as other mission-driven local businesses. Saddlecreek has donated to the Cave Creek American Legion silent auctions, volunteered at the Horses Help annual fundraiser and hosted a backpack drive for AZ Helping Hands.
“We’ve worked with schools. We’ve worked with churches and other nonprofit organizations,” Evanoff said. “We always try and be there any time someone needs something. We allow our space to be rented out for small-business owners who need a place to gather.”
Community efforts aside, Saddlecreek’s menu is equally a crowd pleaser.
The coffee shop boasts tasty treats from breakfast items, including omelets, Nutella crepes, burritos, pressed paninis and bagel sandwiches, to lunch dishes featuring cobb salads, herb marinated chicken wraps, lunch burritos and turkey bacon sandwiches.
Saddlecreek, of course, also serves espresso, coffee and tea.
In April, North Valley Magazine — the Foothills Focus’ sister publication — voted Saddlecreek the Best Coffee Shop in the North Valley, describing it as a go-to spot to snag a “caffeine boost, breakfast to start your day, or lunch.”
Evanoff’s counterpart and close friend, Cebalt, added that Saddlecreek strives to source local and organic ingredients.
“We try to source as much local and organic products in terms of our food service,” Cebalt said.
She noted that Saddlecreek’s emphasis on hospitality is also what sets itself apart from the competition.
The coffee shop’s staff prides itself on getting to know customers on a personal level, Cebalt continued.
“Like 75% to 85% of people — we know their names and their life story,” the operating partner said. “We know what they drink and where their kids go to school — not in a creepy way. It’s about personal relationships — that’s what makes us stand out.”
Evanoff echoed her partner’s sentiments, saying their employees “learn about your life, (we) cheer you on when there is something to celebrate.”
Both operating partners’ morals and eagerness to connect stem from their backgrounds as front-house servers, they explained.
“Rachael and I both have hospitality backgrounds,” Evanoff said. “We knew what made our jobs enjoyable. It’s when you get to know somebody. It’s fun to take care of someone. We call it a ‘server’s heart.’
“When you take care of people, the profit will follow.”
The company was established around 2013. Jim and Julie Prendergast purchased the coffee shop in 2014 before donating it to their church, the Scottsdale Bible: North Ridge Campus.
When the church could no longer dedicate the time and resources to run Saddlecreek, the Prendergasts repurchased it and recruited Evanoff as a manager.
“I genuinely just had that gut feeling,” Evanoff said of her decision to work with Saddlecreek.
Cebalt, who was working a “9-to-5 desk job” at the time, shortly followed suit.
“I missed being on my feet, talking to people and seeing people face to face,” Cebalt said. “I wanted to be a part of it in seeing the growth, so I asked to become a partner and here we are.”
Despite the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the operating partners agreed Saddlecreek came out on top.
“It’s been showing so much growth over the last four or five years,” Evanoff said. “It has been received so well. We worked our butts off. We’re not perfect, but we try to respond perfectly — that matters.”
Saddlecreek recently launched a wine, beer and cocktail menu, expanding the company’s credits as a multidimensional coffeehouse.
The new menu items were a result of the “demand” from community members, Evanoff explained.
“As a coffee shop that operates at a deficit without a drive thru, we have to be a little more creative,” she said.
Saddlecreek is offering a list of four beers, four wines and four cocktails. Although the beverages have not yet been added to the menu, the company is beginning to campaign the products on social media.
Saddlecreek Coffee is open 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
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