If it feels like we *just* announced a new cafe opening for our partners at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, well, that’s because we did. On May 5th of 2017 Sprudge brought you news of the brand’s expansion to West Seattle, and today, just 5 weeks later, Olympia Coffee are announcing the opening a forthcoming 1400 square foot coffee bar in the heart of Tacoma’s historic Proctor District.
The new cafe will be locate at 2601 N Proctor Street, and is happening in partnership with the team at Lapis Tacoma, whose projects include the much-loved Compass Rose artisan gift shop and Captain Little children’s store. For T-Locs familiar with the area (such as the founders of this website), Oly’s new shop will go into the former Radio Shack space on the corner of Proctor and 26th, occupying roughly half of the 3000 square foot building. It’s slated to open in the 4th quarter of 2017.
Puget Sound passive architecture leaders Artisans Group will manage design at the new space, continuing their long working relationship with Olympia Coffee. The space differs from Oly’s impending West Seattle location in terms of footprint and scope—the Tacoma cafe will be a “flagship” for the brand, with on-site roasting and a deep concept menu including milkshakes, nitro floats, espresso drinks, pour over and more.
The million dollar question—perhaps literally—is, what with two cafes opening in the same year, has Olympia Coffee been acquired or otherwise cashed up in order to fund this growth? We are living in the acquisition age of coffee, after all, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility. I asked Olympia Coffee co-owner Oliver Stormshak this question directly, and he said no. “We are growing totally organically, and we are 100% independent,” says Stormshak, himself a child of the Tacoma area. “Opening on Proctor is really big deal to me. Growing up in Tacoma, I often went to see movies at the Blue Mouse Theater, and while in high school it was ironic / hip to hang out and drink coffee at Knapp’s, which is regularly frequented by an “older” crowd.”
Because it tugs on the strings of my 253 area code phone number maintaining heart, let’s allow Stormshak to continue on with his many reasons to love the Proctor District:
“My first specialty coffee experience took place at this very intersection at the Starbucks across the street from where we will be opening. It’s my personal favorite neighborhood in Tacoma, if I was to ever move back to Tacoma it surely would be in this neighborhood. Proctor has always been a sweet, walkable, vibrant neighborhood, it has a great grocery store with Metropolitan Market, gifts with Compass Rose, a great Farmers Market on Saturdays, Peaks and Pints for tasty Brews and a flux of new businesses opening like Top Pot Doughnuts and Alegre Bakery. Hell, just having the Chalet Bowl bowling alley makes it an awesome neighborhood. It’s always had classic NW coffee with Starbucks, but also other second wave shops have opened in the neighborhood in the last twenty or so years, but nothing succeeded (for a number of reasons). I’ve always known that if you could build a truly dynamic, beautiful, Third Wave / New Wave cafe with a level of quality sourcing, roasting, brewing that we do at Olympia Coffee, it could and should work. It feels perfectly ripe for us.
I used to go bowling at Chalet Bowl for gym class credits in high school. Just typing this sentence, I can smell that place again in all its vintage bowling alley glory. And in a milieu where I’m actively jealous of Everett—freaking Everett—for getting a world class coffee shop, I’m thrilled to be typing out news of the same for Tacoma, my much-loved, oft-maligned City of Destiny. Somebody was going to open a truly great coffee shop in the Proctor District at some point, and I’m glad it’s going to be the Olympia Coffee Roasting Company.