If you find yourself in Tumwater, looking for a quality cup of coffee with a relaxed atmosphere, a comfortable spot to meet friends or colleagues, or a location where you can support local business, then you are looking for just one place—Taildragger Coffee. Opened in summer 2018, Taildragger Coffee has quickly set itself apart from the big chains and gained a dedicated following throughout the area. Owners Nate and Amy Mayes are excited to see all the hard work they put into their business pay off as they celebrate their second year.
A closer look at all that Nate and Amy have put into the business reveals a long list of ingredients: passion, business savvy, community support, quality and a strong vision for the future. There isn’t just one single element that has helped Taildragger Coffee to rise so high into their second year, but there is one thing that brings all the pieces together: connection to family, and it is woven throughout their business.
The family history is intertwined through their entire business model, from the name to the creative cafe décor. Taildragger Coffee takes its name from the aircraft that Nate’s grandfather soloed back in the ’40s. The family-owned the Spanaway Airport for 61 years before they retired and sold the business. With small aircraft occasionally floating overhead from nearby Olympia Regional Airport, the location on Tumwater Boulevard is perfect for the comfortable coffee shop.
Before Taildragger Coffee’s opening, Tumwater had a real void when it came to family-owned coffee shops. All the coffee shops where someone can sit down, meet with friends or colleagues, or just sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee with a pastry are chains and franchises. If you want to support a locally owned coffee shop in Tumwater, those are all drive-throughs, explains Nate. So, Taildragger Coffee brings together the best of both worlds.
Nate may love flying, but he doesn’t just spend his days with his head in the clouds. He works hard making sure things are running smoothly. Amy loves customer service and has a background in the coffee industry. She enjoys interacting with customers and being able to put a smile on their faces with a great cup of coffee and delicious food. Nate and Amy both agree it doesn’t pay to cut corners. Their customers care about high quality, local ingredients. “All our beans are locally roasted Batdorf & Bronson, and we source everything with quality in mind, as local and fresh as possible,” says Nate. “We also get two deliveries a day from the Bread Peddler and have a good selection of grab-and-go items, including gluten-free options.”
Taildragger Coffee is truly a family affair, and it shows. Though it’s Nate and Amy’s business, many members of their family put work in at the shop in a variety of ways. Nate’s sister, Adrienne, is social media and marketing extraordinaire, as well as a self-proclaimed new product tester. Her husband, Aaron, Nate’s mom, and stepdad are always available to help when needed as well.
Nate and Amy’s kids, Cayden, Noah, Pua, and Ashley, work hard at the family business after school. Instilling that work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit is so important to their family, that they’ve found a way to get other teenagers included as well. After getting involved with a recent job fair, Taildragger Coffee began working with Tumwater and Black Hills high schools to help students set up future coffee stands in the schools, helping more young people attain real-life work experience and business skills.
Being business savvy has allowed Nate and Amy to thrive and give back to their community in other ways as well, and it all circles back to the importance of family. They’ve raised funds and solicited donations for three local organizations that help families throughout the area including Dry Tikes & Wet Wipes and Friends of Mia. It means a lot to them that their family can help other families in the community.
Part of Nate and Amy’s fondness for community comes from the strong community support that Taildragger Coffee has received so far. The first year of the business, when most face the toughest year of succeed or fail, word-of-mouth advertisement through the community helped them really get their name out there. Nate and Amy felt a lot of support through others in the small business community who made an effort to stop by regularly and bring in family, friends and colleagues. Once people tried Taildragger Coffee, they kept coming back for the great atmosphere, quality coffee and delicious food.
From time to time they host special events like paint and sips or live music. Follow the Taildragger Coffee Facebook page to see upcoming events.
125 Tumwater Boulevard Suite 119, Tumwater