It seems everyone is brewing something at home these days. Beer, wine, kombucha even hard cider is making a comeback. The first question you may ask is, “Why brew your own when your store-bought choices are endless?” Centralia native, Chris Rohr, owner of Flood Valley Homebrew was just like you, asking himself the same question. [read more on LewisTalk.com]
Posts Tagged With: Downtown Centralia
When asked how he started in the coffee roasting business, Justin Page, owner of Santa Lucia Cafe located in downtown Centralia, Washington, looked at us for a moment, then quietly said, “Coffee is a journey.” His journey began when he was about 12 or 13 years old. His father was “in the coffee culture” in Seattle, and Justin has been passionate about coffee ever since.
He began roasting his own coffee in 2002 in the basement of his Centralia home. He expanded to roasting from family, friends, and neighbors. Then he placed a kiosk on the front porch of his house and people would put their money into his mail slot. After a few years (and one visit from the Centralia Fire Department because of all the smoke coming out of his basement), Justin ran out of room and decided to open Santa Lucia Café in his current location in 2006.
Santa Lucia is the namesake for Justin’s wife, Lucy. The setting is rustic, with three rooms with tables comfortable chairs, and even books to sit and read with children. It’s cozy enough for small conversations as well as small work meetings. Local pastries from San Francisco Bakery in Olympia, Market Street Bakery in Chehalis, and Main Street Cookies in Rainier, are temptingly displayed.
Justin tells us that he gets beans from all over the world, but most specifically from a small farmer, Edwin Martinez, in Guatemala. Huge 150 pound bags can be seen sitting near the walls. One coffee roaster is placed in the third room. There Justin roasts about 200-300 pounds of coffee each week. We were surprised to hear it only takes about 15 minutes to roast a batch of coffee. He doesn’t have a set schedule, just roasts as needed as they run low on coffee, so it’s very fresh.
We asked about the “flavors” and how he achieves them because we truly had no idea. It turns out coffee is a bit like wine, that flavors are not added, but come naturally from the areas where the beans are grown. Then he decides which flavors he likes, what his “interpretation” of them is and then roasts them to bring out the flavors he likes best. This is done by varying the length of time of roasting as well as temperature.
David asked if he would like to see his product on big store shelves. Justin thought for a moment and said no, he actually preferred that people find him on their own based on the quality of his coffees.
As Josh is in high school and learning a lot about future careers, he had his own question: What would Justin tell a high school student thinking about opening a coffee roasting business. Justin replied that he would ask a lot of questions, why do they want to do this, how passionate are they – he would challenge them and ask deeper questions rather than just say, “Yes, do it” or “No, don’t do it.”
When asked where he thought his business would be in five years, Justin said that this is an individual journey for him and he expects to stay small and still be in the same place. The best part of this business for him is the personal touch, being part of the community and the friends that he has made. He feels that it is now at a point that it is a self-propelling entity and that is a very exciting point to be for an entrepreneur. He would only like to grow larger though, if it didn’t take away from the personal aspect that he enjoys so much now.
Santa Lucia coffees can also be found served at local establishments such as Centralia College and Jeremy’s Farm to Table restaurant.
Santa Lucia Café is open Monday through Friday, 7am-5pm, Saturdays 8am-3pm and Sundays, 9am-3pm and is located at 202 S. Tower Ave., Centralia WA 98531. They can also be found online at http://www.luciacoffee.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/santaluciacoffee.
As soon as you see it in its quaint little corner spot you are drawn to it. It truly looks like an old-time soda fountain but Holley’s Place is a yogurt shop. The bright colors of the goodies showing through the window along with the outside décor are unique. The south wall is the side of a larger building and holds several of Centralia’s famous murals. The storefront is right next to the old Fox Theater which is being restored and the new marquee sign that was just placed above it draws attention to not only the theater but the yogurt store.
Holley’s Place was opened two years ago by Holley Kaiser and her husband, Jamie. They simply decided that they wanted to start a business for their whole family to take part in, and there were no frozen yogurts stores in the area. When they were shown the space they were a little nervous. It had plaster falling off the walls and old cast-iron pipes. But they saw the potential and spent several months painstakingly fixing it up. They went to garage sales and estate sales and gathered up leftover items to sell themselves. After 14 garage sales they finally had enough money to buy the two ice cream machines.
Inside it is quite small (about 235 square feet). There is just one counter with five stools. If they look like originals from an ice cream shop it’s because they are. Holley and Jamie picked them up from an old ice cream shop in Seattle. Silver tin adorns the ceiling in more antique-style décor.
The counter is not an old-time laminate or metal though – it’s a beautiful misty-blue-green glass that seemed destined for the store when it was offered to Holly and her husband for free from their church.
But rather than be served by Holly, you get to decide how much and what kind of yogurt you want. There are two self-serve machines. This day one contained peanut butter and chocolate yogurt, and one contained sugar-free vanilla and sherbet. Holley likes to offer sugar-free and dairy choices for those who can’t process them.
You choose the cup size you want, fill it with however much of whichever flavor of yogurt you want. Then you head over to all the goodies to make more choices. There are syrups, pieces of brownies, gummy bears, marshmallows, Fruity Pebbles, Reese’s Pieces, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, nuts, fruit and more. If you can’t find something you like here, it would be unbelievable.
When you are finished with your selections, you set your bowl on the scales and pay for it by the weight. Then you dig in and enjoy your own amazing creation!
Holley is excited to be part of the revitalization of downtown Centralia. She says that in 1999 there were 21 taverns along the main part of town and that has tremendously changed. Owners of all the businesses in the downtown core are helping each other out, advertising each other, handing out fliers and gift cards. Even though her shop is small, she plans on staying there in her terrific location. Not only is she next to the Fox Theater, Holley’s Place serves as the concessionaire for it when movies are shown.
Holley has two favorite things about running Holley’s Place – that it is a business that her whole family can be involved in, and getting to know people in the community as well as welcoming visitors to downtown Centralia. It truly does feel like you are coming into her house and being welcomed, just as she wants it to be.
Holley’s Place is open seven days a week except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and her and Jamie’s anniversary (April 10). Hours are Noon-8pm weekdays, Noon-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located on the corner of Centralia College Blvd. and Tower St. at 119 S. Tower in downtown Centralia.
Getting there: From I-5 take exit 81 and head east. Just keep following it, it will turn into Cherry St. Go to Tower St. and turn left. Continue north on Tower St. to Centralia College Blvd. Holley’s Place will be on your left on the northwest corner.