Life is about to get a lot better for fans of sitting down and having their coffee with friends with the eventual opening of the Mint City Coffee Roasting Company in downtown Chehalis.
“We want to create that environment for people to come in and do some work and hang out,” said Jason Boettner, 36.
Jason Boettner is one of four people — two husband and wife teams — who shared an interest in going into the coffee business. Jason and his wife Shawna Boettner, 35, live in Chehalis while Kyle Askin, 34, and Sarah Askin, 33, live in Toledo.
All four partners come from different backgrounds.
“I still do online merchandising,” Jason Boettner said.
“A modern day MacGyver,” said Kyle Askin, a software developer, about Jason Boettner.
Shawna Boettner used to work for Providence Medical Group while Sarah Askin ran an art gallery.
But while their experiences might differ, they all share a common goal: making coffee people will enjoy.
Jason and Shawna Boettner own the building the coffee company will be occupying, located immediately to the right of Mackinaw’s Restaurant in the Hotel Washington. The original plan for the building wasn’t a coffee shop, however, but a brewery. But plans for a brewery fell apart after a business partner passed away. The couple began looking for something new.
“For Shawna and I, the idea (of having a coffee business) came from her parents originally,” Jason Boettner said.
The Boettners first started thinking about opening a coffee business in 2019, when they started demo-ing the building.
“It was kind of a family vision and we decided to take it and run,” Shawna Boettner said. “We just kept saying, ‘It’s going to happen if it’s meant to be.’ And then you guys moved back and the stars aligned.”
The “you guys” Shawna Boettner was referring to were Kyle and Sarah Askin.
Kyle Askin and Jason Boettner had been friends growing up together in Toledo, but Kyle Askin ended up moving away and married Sarah Askin, who, like Shawna Boettner, had grown up in Centralia. But they eventually decided to move back and go into the coffee business.
“We moved back in 2020,” Sarah Askin said.
“You can thank COVID for that one,” added Kyle. “We weren’t living in this area and when we moved back our goals aligned so we got together.”
Before partnering with the Boettners, Kyle Askin had gotten into coffee roasting, even creating his own brand he produced at home, though his brand is being merged into the larger Mint City business.
“We started talking about the partnership agreement around late 2021. Prior to that we had just kind of talked about it and they had already started with their roasting (business),” Jason Boettner said.
Between the two couples’ aspirations for a coffee business, the group decided to work together to achieve their dream.
But their dream involves a lot of renovations.
“It was a real diamond in the rough back then,” Shawna Boettner said about their building. “We first started cutting into the walls in April 2019.”
Over three years later, and the group still has months to go before being finished. They said they plan on opening sometime in the fall.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major reason the renovations on their building have taken so long, but a bigger reason is the experience the four want to provide to their customers.
“We’ll probably have a lounge behind the counter with sofas. The roaster will be able to be seen in the back so it’ll be a little interactive,” Jason Boettner said.
Beyond the renovations to the interior of the building, changes will be made to the outside of the structure as well. They plan on repainting the front of the store, replacing the “vintage” sign with “Mint City,” a reference to one of the unofficial nicknames of Chehalis.
Though the building will be a central part of their business, the group has other plans as well.
According to Kyle Askin, they’re going to have an online side to their business, one that will allow different ordering subscriptions for coffee beans. Their eventual goal is to be able to have same-day or next-day delivery of fresh coffee.
“We definitely want to do something wholesale. We definitely wanted to make clear we weren’t wanting to compete with the other coffee shops in town,” Jason Boettner added.
“The full vision, long term, is to have a direct connection to a farm and before we do that, we’d like to fully establish what people want. Our coffee could be served at other places around the area,” Sarah Askin said.
A big part of what will make Mint City unique is its plan to roast its own coffee.
“We will have like an espresso blend, a specific roast for the espresso. We’ll also have roasts for specialty coffee. Range from a dark roast to a light roast. We are currently planning on doing Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Colombian beans,” said Kyle Askin.
When it comes to roasting coffee beans, the Askins certainly seem to know their stuff. They explained the science behind roasting coffee beans to The Chronicle in detail.
According to the Askins, coffee beans are from a coffee cherry, which is actually a fruit. You have to remove the fruit when ready. Then there’s a drying process and the beans get washed in a tank like cranberries. When the coffee beans are all done and dried, they have a green color. Once you get your green coffee, you roast it at different levels to get a different flavor. The best flavor comes three days later after degassing, when you’re roasting, it creates a lot of heat and the carbon dioxide gets out.
The group believes the coffee roaster will be a major part of their business’ attractiveness to customers.
“It’ll be more than just coffee. It’ll be really nice for people to come in and have your choice of drink and have the roaster in the back,” said Sarah Askin.
All four partners are going to be playing different roles in the business. Sarah Askin and Shawna Boettner will be in charge of hiring and managing employees while also working behind the counter.
Jason Boettner sees himself playing a management role and possibly making deliveries.
“You’re also our numbers guy,” added Sarah Askin, referring to Jason Boettner.
Kyle Askin said he’d be in charge of acquiring their coffee, roasting it and “creating the flavor palette." Sarah Askin, meanwhile, will play a big role in marketing.
“Everyone is kind of going to do marketing but you guys really know that better,” Jason Boettner said about the Askins. “We’re all going to know how every aspect of the business works.”
But even with all their planning, the group still has a few aspects of their business to figure out.
They still have to decide when exactly they’ll be open. They’re thinking sometime in the morning to early afternoon for their hours. They also plan on being open during the week and on Saturdays, though they’re unsure about Sundays.
“You can subscribe to the website to get updates on that,” Kyle Askin added.
When asked what they looked forward to in starting their business, all four gave different answers.
“I’m looking forward to just the partnership,” Shawna Boettner said.
“I’m looking forward to this space having people in it and serving them and bringing it to life,” said Sarah Askin.
“It’ll be fun having people stop in,” said Jason Boettner.
“(I’m looking forward to) making a really good cup of coffee for someone,” Kyle Askin said.
For more information, contact email@example.com or go to mintcitycoffee.com.