The Rustic Coffee and Wine Bar Story
It's not everyday you give up your day job and steady income to launch full-time into an entrepreneurial venture, but that's exactly what I did in 2008 when my husband Norm and I opened The Rustic Coffee Bar in historic Fairhaven.
Norm and I serving coffee at the 2011 Ski to Sea Event in Fairhaven.
We already owned and operated Muddy Waters, an espresso stand in Lynden, since 2005, but were looking to fulfill our dream to own a place near our home in Bellingham where people could come in and sit down and enjoy a great cup of specialty coffee, a pastry and choose from a light lunch menu. Check out the Muddy Water's Facebook page, click on
I love to meet new people and I love great tasting coffee so we were thrilled when we found the perfect location in the heart of old Fairhaven adjacent to McKenzie Alley, to establish The Rustic Coffee Bar.
The coffee menu at The Rustic Coffee Bar allows me to be creative with our menu of specialty coffee drinks, and we're constantly offering seasonal and holiday special drinks like our "candy" mochas, Pumpkin Cheesecake Latte, Spiderweb Mocha, Eggnog Chai, or Candy Corn Latte.
We've had rave reviews about our coffee drinks which begin with our fine espresso that we buy from Caffe D'Arte, an Italian roaster in Seattle; I source all of our other items locally, such as our pastries from Lynden Dutch Bakery, panini sandwiches from the Bellingham Public Market, and the Edaleen Dairy provides our dairy products.
I really wanted to differentiate our atmosphere from that of another one of Fairhaven's famous coffee houses, Tony's Coffee House, and so I designed an interior that is more upscale, with dark leather chairs, a fireplace, and a cozy "library" nook where we have stocked the shelves with hundreds of books donated by the Village Book Store up the street. Now that we've added wine and beer to our coffee drinks, along with an expanded light fare with tasty appetizers, we're excited to attract more patrons and turn them into fans of The Rustic Coffee & Wine Bar!
I try to learn all my regular customers by name and encourage our baristas to do so also, and get to know them so that we have an opportunity to connect with them when they come in for their special drink or a bite to eat. We have a fun, interesting and loyal clientel, as well as visitors from both the U.S. and Canada who come in and soak up the intimate atmosphere with quiet conversation, or tap into our free wifi and surf the net, or simply to read the newspaper or a book. We have people of all ages and walks of life enjoy our hospitality and fine coffees. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Over the years, Norm and I have gotten to know some customers so well that they have become good friends and we share social occasions with them all the time. And that's our story! -- Donna