Coffee Shop Becomes Popular Destination In Tough Economy
Wash Perk Opened Doors 4 Years Ago, Expanded Twice
UPDATED: 9:04 am MST February 22, 2012
At a time when many small businesses have had to close up shop, a Denver woman decided to open a coffee
shop that isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving. ”I love this place. I love good coffee,” said Teri Meehan, owner of Wash Perk. Wash Perk is Meehan’s labor of love.
She had no prior experience operating a business. In fact, Meehan was an oncology nurse and massage therapist before she decided to open a coffee shop in a location where two other coffee shops had failed previously. ”I actually didn’t think about being successful,” said Meehan. That was four years ago, right at the beginning of the recession.
“Coffee went up for the first time in 5 years, gas prices went up, and wheat went up so the pastries went up … all of those things. But, I think it was the right time for a place like this, a gathering place.”
The community responded in a big way. ”People constantly came in and said, ‘What can we do to help you last?’” Meehan said.
Tucked in the middle of a residential street, on the corner of Ohio and Emerson, Wash Perk is now a destination location.
On a Friday morning, it’s bustling. ”This is actually slower than normal,” said barista Jessica Engman. “Usually there’s a line out the door.”
The shop is full of people reading books, surfing the web, even doing business. ”When I work from home I work from here. It’s a good place to work,” said Andrew Myers, who travels from his Capitol Hill neighborhood to hang out on the comfy couches inside Wash Perk. Since opening the doors about four years ago, Meehan’s business has grown to 16 employees. She has expanded the shop twice. ”It was like the day we expanded the space our sales went up,” she said.
Wash Perk reaches more customers with a bicycle coffee cart, called the Perkolator, which Meehan rides to Washington Park in the spring and summer months.
“The bike alone, before having the water tank in it is 100 pounds. Then you add me and water and coffee and it’s quite a feat. It’s kind of like steering a boat while you’re riding it because you can’t control it so rigidly. You got to kind of go with the flow,” said Meehan jokingly.
Meehan has humor and a contagious personality that permeates her business. That’s what keeps customers coming back.
“Everything she’s done and put into this place comes from her heart,” said Brian Spinner, who considers himself a regular. ”It’s just a good place. Good environment, good people,” said another customer.
“I do believe that there’s a bigger purpose other than just selling coffee, and it’s clear by the fact that there are so many people that support us and feel so connected and how our staff feel about being here,” said Meehan. ”It’s more than me and it’s more than coffee.”