Instead of the classic sliding windows seen on most coffee stands, Gravity Coffee sports sleek, sliding-glass doors.
One of the reasons for this measure has to do with customer satisfaction, said Jordon Cook, vice president of operations for Gravity Coffee.
“We are definitely unique with the way we do things,” Cook said. “We’ve got the doors, which I love. It makes it easier to run to cars. We don’t have speaker boxes like drive-through coffee shops or anything. We run to cars and take orders in person, making it that personal experience that everyone wants, that one-on-one. All our girls are really personable.”
Ariana Staley, Yelm Gravity manager, echoed Cook’s sentiments, adding that interacting with people without a wall in the way is much more rewarding.
“Every once in a while we will get someone that is concerned for our safety because of the doors, but it really is great because we get to interact with each other on a much better level,” Staley said. “No constantly having a headset on. We actually get to talk to the customers. We get to find out about their family, about them, what they like and what they don’t like.”
Yelm is the newest of 16 locations for Gravity Coffee, and — until today — it had been undergoing a soft opening of the stand since Sept. 20.
“The soft opening was very successful,” Cook said. “I want to say it’s one of the most successful of all the soft openings we’ve had. It’s booming out here.”
Today — Oct. 5 — and also Oct. 6 and 7 are the stand’s grand opening celebration days at 16518 State Route 507.
During this time 12- and 16-ounce drinks will be free, and 24- and 32-ounce drinks are discounted to $1.99 and $2.99 respectively. Select kids drinks will also be free, with a child present. However, to get a free or discounted drink, one must have a flyer for the grand opening.
“Grand openings are a blast,” Cook said. “It’s going to be so much fun. We take girls from every store and they come out here and they help us, because it gets pretty crazy handing out free drinks.”
During the grand opening, Gravity Coffee will be collecting donations for the ALS Foundation, Cook said. This foundation is close to the hearts of Gravity Coffee employees because the father of Maximo Ansola — the company’s founder — died of ALS in 2001, Staley said.
And according to the company’s website, Gravity Coffee matches every donation dollar for dollar and together with customers has donated over $20,000 so far.
In addition, Gravity Coffee’s drinks can be fairly unique, Staley said.
From putting lavender in coffee, to doing things like serving orange mochas, offering white coffee and mixing up its signature energy drink cocktails, Gravity Coffee has lots to pride itself on, Staley said.
For the perfect cup of coffee, Cook said that the perfect shot of Dillanos coffee — Gravity’s roast — must be pulled within 21 seconds.
“With Dillanos they make it so specific to your coffee shop and the way you want your coffee,” Cook said. “They’re just incredible. We really like working with them.”
Yet it’s not the coffee alone that makes Gravity work.
“What makes us most unique is definitely our energy drink line that we have, and everyone seems to love it,” Cook said
The energy drinks, called Zero Gravity, come in the Blue or Red Lotus versions, and the cocktails range from pre-designed menu items, to build-your-own varieties.
“Zero Gravity is like a healthier version than what’s on the market right now,” Staley said. “It has less sugar, real cane sugar and B12 vitamins. What I found really interesting is that per ounce our energy drink has more caffeine in it than Red Bulls do, and it doesn’t have taurine.
“You don’t get the jitters. If you drink it and you haven’t eaten breakfast yet, you’re not going to feel like your heart’s about to jump out of your chest.”
Furthermore, Yelm was chosen as the next location for Gravity Coffee because it’s a crossroads of sorts, Staley said.
“I didn’t realize how many people come through Yelm so often,” she said. “I mean driving to Federal Way coming from Olympia, driving from Graham, going to the base, going literally everywhere. My gosh you guys all drive so far, but thanks for coming through. It’s really crazy just how many people come through this area.”
Don’t forget the people that commute to Yelm, instead of passing right through, Cook said.
“A lot of people work out here and live in Tacoma,” Cook said. “I’ve had customers say that now they can get something during the day, while they’re at work, on their break.”
Staley said she used to work at a Gravity Coffee in Federal Way, and hasn’t ever experienced some of the things that Yelm has brought her in only a few weeks.
From offering her Facebook group invites to telling her the best way to reach Yelm, Staley said everyone has been so kind and curious about the business.
“We have had such a great, warm welcome since we got here,” Staley said. “Everyone has just been super helpful.”
But nothing beats a certain high-profile visitor Staley received on her first day open, she said.
“On the first day the mayor came through and introduced himself, and he’s like literally the nicest human ever,” Staley said. “He waited until the very end to introduce himself and said: ‘Well I’m JW. I’m the mayor.’ That definitely never happens in Federal Way.”