After opening in 2011, Dancing Goats Coffee Bar in Lacey established itself as a popular destination for office workers in the area as well as those who live at Panorama, the large retirement community in the southeast corner of the city.
Now, add faculty, staff and students of South Puget Sound Community College to the mix of customers because the school’s new campus has opened across the street from the coffee shop.
Co-owner Chris Reimertz noticed the uptick in business before the campus even opened as staff and faculty went in search of coffee. Then it got really busy.
The campus opened to students in mid-September, which had Reimertz adding food and tables.
“The net effect has been positive,” said Reimertz, 46, about the additional business, although he acknowledged that a few regulars have been turned off by the sudden increase in customers.
Some regulars, though, remain committed.
“I’ve loved Batdorf & Bronson coffee as long as I’ve lived in Olympia, so I was really excited when this location opened right around the corner from my business,” said Kevin Hayward, a State Farm insurance agent. “The owners and staff are always friendly here, and it’s a great place to meet a friend or business client.”
The rise in business being played out at Dancing Goats is something the city of Lacey hopes takes hold in the surrounding area, including at Woodland Square Loop and its mostly vacant office buildings, which were hollowed out by the recession.
Reimertz was part of a steering committee to help shape the future of the Woodland District, and the college’s arrival was viewed as a big part of turning the district into a vibrant, mixed-use destination.
It’s quite a change for Dancing Goats, which opened in 2011, a time when the economy was improving but was far from great, Reimertz recalled.
So he and his wife, Gina, eschewing traditional marketing and social media, focused on service, the food, the coffee, and let word-of-mouth awareness do the rest.
It paid off as the business grew. The business is not a franchise, but has a licensing agreement with Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. They are free to run the business as they see fit, but have agreed to serve Batdorf coffee and to follow the roasters’ coffee program, he said.
In addition to coffee, Dancing Goats is known for its pastries, paninis and breakfast sandwiches. Some of the most popular are those produced by Left Bank Pastry in Olympia, Reimertz said, such as the Kouign-amann.
Dancing Goats Coffee Bar
Owners: Chris and Gina Reimertz
Location: 4219 Sixth Ave. SE Lacey, WA
Years in business: Opened in 2011.
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays, which allows the owners to prepare some of the food they serve. Dancing Goats has a full kitchen, Chris Reimertz said.
Online: Find Dancing Goats Coffee Bar on Facebook: tinyurl.com/DGoatsLacey.
Advice to business owners: Do your homework, especially on the financial side; be realistic; don’t be seduced by the romance of owning a business over the nuts and bolts of actually running it; remember it takes hard work. Reimertz has often asked himself, “Why am I here on a Saturday night cleaning out the grease trap?”
Did you know? Both Chris and Gina have extensive retail backgrounds. Gina grew up in the restaurant business, while Chris is a former retail director at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. He also is a partner and former general manager at the Olympia restaurant Mercato.