Filling a La Crescent Void with Affogato Lane Coffee
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We bring you news from the business community. From startups to experienced problem solvers, you’ll get in-depth insight on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Greater La Crosse. Our show is a collaboration between WIZMNews.com and BizNews Greater La Crosse ( GreaterLaCrosse.media ).
Full Transcript [ generated by AI]
[00:00:00] Kelsey Anderson: it was something, one of our next step dreams is to have that brick and mortar shop and have a spot for families to gather or. Friends to come together and hang out
[00:00:08] Vicki Markussen: Welcome to Biz Cast Greater Lacrosse, a weekly podcast from Biz News. We bring you the news out of the business community. I am your host and the founder, Vicki Markussen and joining me today is Kelsey Anderson. She and her husband Raymond, our co-owners of Affogato Lane Coffee Company, which opened in La Crescent, and it has two forms which we’ll talk about.
[00:00:32] Vicki Markussen: Welcome. Thank you. You started as a coffee trailer, so explain how that idea
[00:00:38] Kelsey Anderson: started. Yes. So we started as a mobile coffee trailer, a little mobile coffee cart. And that idea came about with our first initial planning for coffee shop in La Crescent was. To open a brick and mortar store. But doing more research and just starting the business we decided that a coffee trailer would be a better and more mobile way to kind of get around in the community and build a clientele and, and start our business that way.
[00:01:04] Kelsey Anderson: And we found a really cute little coffee trailer and just built it out and start it that way.
[00:01:09] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. ’cause you’re funding this. Predominantly yourself. So starting with that lower overhead, I’m guessing, allowed you to do a little trial and error with a low risk. Oh,
[00:01:20] Kelsey Anderson: definitely. Yes. So you’re not having to pay rent, you’re not having to pay electricity other than, you know, generator costs and that kind of stuff.
[00:01:28] Kelsey Anderson: A lot of research went into that and a lot of learning and that kind of thing. But and having a coffee trailer is obviously different than. A store. Plumbing needs are way different. You have your fresh and gray tanks and that kind of thing, so that was a, a learning curve for us. But it’s been really fun to be mobile and be able to go to festivals and kind of bring the coffee to the people.
[00:01:50] Kelsey Anderson: Yeah. So it’s been a blast.
[00:01:52] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. And you still have that trailer, so that’s still something that you’re
[00:01:55] Kelsey Anderson: doing? Yes, we’re continuing to do private parties events. Fairs, festivals markets. We do the farmer’s market in La Crescent every Tuesday evening. Yeah. So it’s really fun to do that in addition to our
[00:02:10] Vicki Markussen: store.
[00:02:11] Vicki Markussen: It’s interesting ’cause as you mentioned, the, I’ll just call it clean water, not clean water, right? It’s, we. See all these food trucks, but we don’t realize all that goes into it. And I’m sure that was probably a good start to, that has its own complexities, but it’s a good start to going to what you have to think about as you moved into a brick and brick and mortar store, right?
[00:02:33] Vicki Markussen: For sure. Talk about where you were in your life when you were doing this. What did it look like for you to go, Hey, let’s open up a coffee cart. That’s a
[00:02:43] Kelsey Anderson: really good question. We have always been a super busy family. We’ve got five kiddos and we live in town in La Crescent. So we’ve got three teenagers and then we’ve got two babies, we call ’em.
[00:02:55] Kelsey Anderson: So they’re three and two. And I’m a registered nurse. I run a clinic in Winona, and then my husband was a pastor in Brownsville. And so just go, go, go all the time. Lots of sports going on, that kind of thing. But we saw , this lack of a place to gather in the crescent, lack of a.
[00:03:12] Kelsey Anderson: A coffee shop and just here around town all the time, how people wish. There was a coffee shop there and we’ve lived there for many years and just, it’s just something that we’ve always wished was, was there. And it’s okay to drive to lacrosse and get coffee or drive to Hoka and get coffee. But La Crescent itself just needed that.
[00:03:28] Kelsey Anderson: It was just missing that. our passion for coffee is just huge. Um, so we were just talking about it one day and we were like, why don’t we just. Start looking into it. Maybe we could do it. You know, we’re already busy. Maybe we could just build that into our life. And so that’s kind of how it started.
[00:03:43] Vicki Markussen: And so what, how did you start with your hours and did you end up adjusting
[00:03:46] Kelsey Anderson: them at all? Yeah, so when we started in September of 2022, we. After all initial licensing and that kind of thing. We opened in a parking lot of the La Crescent Wine and Spirits. So trying to find little places to park for with private businesses so that We didn’t have to mess with city approval and that kind of thing.
[00:04:10] Kelsey Anderson: Or kind of get in the way of traffic or anything like that. So yeah, LA Crescent Wind and Spirits is where we started. And then we moved over to Johnson Livings in La Crescent, which is that new super cute boutique in La Crescent. So we were in her parking lot till the very end of October and started getting really cold.
[00:04:27] Kelsey Anderson: And so trying to figure out at that point, Okay, should we look for somewhere else where we could maybe go inside? Because our trailer is small enough where it can be pushed and pulled and moved inside if there was a big enough door. And so we ended up finding that we we were invited to come into Bower’s Market and operate our, our trailer out of there through the winter.
[00:04:47] Kelsey Anderson: And we also did the hockey games in La Crescent in Genius. Yes.
[00:04:51] Vicki Markussen: Because that’s where you want warm things to drink, right?
[00:04:54] Kelsey Anderson: Yes. Yeah. And that was so fun doing the, mostly the varsity hockey games, but we could pull it right into the arena there. So smart.
[00:05:03] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. What’s interesting in that path is the help you got from other businesses.
[00:05:08] Vicki Markussen: Were you expecting that?
[00:05:10] Kelsey Anderson: Yes. It’s so humbling and just. It makes your heart just warm because part of you in your mind is like, okay, it’s, you’re, you have competition, business competition, but everyone has been so supportive. And, a successful business brings. Other business to other businesses, so it helps everybody and yeah, everyone’s been just amazing.
[00:05:33] Vicki Markussen: Yeah, those are the bigger minded businesses of going what’s good for one is good for all. Exactly. And sometimes it’s even if it’s a competitor, right? Because it’s all about having clusters of activity and then if it’s not related, it’s about foot traffic coming in. And I bet it gave you a really good insight as to you, some of them probably.
[00:05:50] Vicki Markussen: You thought, why would they let us do this? And they said, probably fast. Yes. Because they understand we’re all in this together. We’re all making La Crescent better.
[00:06:00] Kelsey Anderson: Yes, yes. Especially like Caddy’s Cafe. Is right next to our cafe. And so you’d think okay, you’re right. Next. Two cafes right next to each other.
[00:06:10] Kelsey Anderson: How is that going to work? It’s been just the most beautiful partnership and they’re amazing. People grab lattes and walk over and have breakfast or the other way around, they’ll have breakfast and then they’ll come over and get a after breakfast coffee. So it’s just been so awesome.
[00:06:27] Vicki Markussen: You know what I just realized we completely missed.
[00:06:29] Vicki Markussen: Explaining the name of your company. Oh, sure,
[00:06:31] Kelsey Anderson: sure. Yeah, let’s do that. Yeah, it’s fun to talk about. So, ADO is actually, uh, an Italian coffee dessert. And so it is, it consists of vanilla ice cream, drowned and espresso is technically how it’s explained. Mm. Um, it’s. Delicious. So yeah, two shots of espresso over vanilla ice cream is the traditional way to, to make an ado.
[00:06:54] Kelsey Anderson: But lots of other places use different types of ice cream and different toppings. And so we serve ours with either just plain with the espresso on top or we can do caramel pecan topping or a mocha swirl.
[00:07:07] Vicki Markussen: And that’s what made me think of Cady’s Coffee. The people coming to you at after Cady’s is they’re looking for that dessert, that little sweet touch that you have there.
[00:07:16] Vicki Markussen: That’s what made me think of your name. So yes, for sure. Yeah, that sounds like something you could have anytime
[00:07:21] Kelsey Anderson: of day. It definitely is. Yeah. It’s a perfect combination between coffee, energy, espresso, and a treat. Yeah.
[00:07:30] Vicki Markussen: And so on your timeline, you were inside of Bowers for the winter.
[00:07:36] Vicki Markussen: Yes. When did you start saying, I need, we need. A brick and mortar, a building for a coffee shop. And how did you find one?
[00:07:45] Kelsey Anderson: La Crescent is a little tough in that it’s tucked right between the river and the bluff.
[00:07:51] Kelsey Anderson: And there isn’t a lot of downtown area in La Crescent. So even though La Crescent Badly needed a coffee shop there wasn’t a lot of good commercial space for that. So we. Did look hard and far and for a while, for a spot. But perseverance paid off and we found the perfect kind of time came together too, because the two sides of the building that were in both became available at the same time.
[00:08:17] Kelsey Anderson: And it was, Split down the middle. So we took both sides, opened it up, and that’s our, our coffee shop now. But we definitely started thinking about that early. The trailer that we have is tiny. And we really made it work too. It was perfectly organized and we could do everything out of it. So it’s really fun.
[00:08:35] Kelsey Anderson: But also it’s, it was something, one of our next step dreams is to have that brick and mortar shop and have a spot for families to gather or. Friends to come together and hang out and yeah.
[00:08:45] Vicki Markussen: So you had some remodeling that happened? Explain the building though.
[00:08:49] Vicki Markussen: We were talking about it in preparation for this. ’cause I, I love history. So the history behind that building? Yes.
[00:08:55] Kelsey Anderson: That building historically everyone knows it as the barber shop in La Crescent. So for many, many years, I think from the early 19 hundreds through about 10 years ago, it was a barbershop.
[00:09:08] Kelsey Anderson: And then more recently was sold by that family and then transitioned into office space. And then we ripped it all apart and turned it into a coffee shop. So tons of build out went into it. Lots of plumbing, lots of sinks. If you know anything about building out a restaurant, lots of health department stuff, lots of big changes.
[00:09:28] Kelsey Anderson: So it was a process. We started that in February and it was finished in the middle of June,
[00:09:34] Vicki Markussen: and I’m sure people are going. Okay. Give us a better idea of where the coffee shop is. Yes. So how would you describe where it’s located?
[00:09:42] Kelsey Anderson: Yes, it is. So, like I said, it’s right next to Caddy’s Cafe on that same side of the street.
[00:09:47] Kelsey Anderson: And we’re right across from the Sports Hub Bar and Grill.
[00:09:50] Vicki Markussen: So we’re talking Walnut Street. Walnut Street, yep. And so it’s on the north side of Walmart Street. If people know Quillin’s you’re kind of kitty corner up one from that, so, yeah. Yeah, yeah, and how’s the community embraced having a actual location downtown?
[00:10:09] Kelsey Anderson: Oh, they are just ecstatic. It’s been amazing to feel that support from the community. Not a bad word has been said. It’s just been excitement. Everyone just says, wow, we needed this so bad. Thank you so much for bringing this to La Crescent. And it’s just, it’s humbling. It’s been heartwarming for sure.
[00:10:27] Kelsey Anderson: And
[00:10:28] Vicki Markussen: You talk about having a family you’re balancing this, right? You didn’t leave your nursing job. And so how has have, so you went from having a cart where you’re kind of flexible. I’m sure you still wanted to have set hours, but this is, you have to be open. What are your hours? Are they Monday through Sunday, every single day of the week?
[00:10:49] Kelsey Anderson: Monday through Saturday. Okay. We’re closed on Sundays right now, but that’s something we’re talking about, possibly doing some hours on Sunday. Just in, in my head I’m thinking, you know, Sunday Church Day people are out and they want somewhere to gather and just be together, and that’s just the perfect coffee shop day in my opinion.
[00:11:05] Kelsey Anderson: So we’ll see if I can convince Raymond to be open on Sundays. But yeah, so Monday through. Saturday, we’re doing Monday through Thursday, 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM and then Friday, Saturday is 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM So those
[00:11:24] Vicki Markussen: are 12 and 14 hour days, and yes. That, is that all on your husband? Do you, did you hire people?
[00:11:31] Kelsey Anderson: My husband is there most of the time. He’s on, on the floor manager all the time. And then we’ve got we utilize our teenage girls. A bit to help us in there. And also we just hired two new baristas. Nice.
[00:11:45] Vicki Markussen: I’m guessing, because you got so much help from local businesses, are you paying it forward? Are you thinking about how you’re going to help other businesses?
[00:11:54] Kelsey Anderson: Yes, we are always thinking about that. We’re, we’re a definitely support local mindset, you know, family and business. We love La Crescent.
[00:12:03] Kelsey Anderson: We love living in Houston County. La Crescent is definitely growing, and I know one of the goals of La Crescent, or the city of La Crescent is to really draw people into La Crescent and bring that business to downtown La Crescent. And so they are going to be also revamping the downtown a little bit.
[00:12:21] Kelsey Anderson: Making it more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly. Big changes coming that will just make lacrosse an an even better place to visit. So yeah. So one of. The ideas that we have implemented now that starts August 1st, is we’re going to be doing a support local promotion where we highlight a business each month.
[00:12:41] Kelsey Anderson: And if you bring a receipt from that business that’s greater than 10 bucks into the coffee company, into Affogato Lane, we can give you a dollar off of your order. So just to promote that support local mindset and really get people shopping around in our county. Yep. So it’s kind
[00:12:59] Vicki Markussen: of a pay it forward, if you will.
[00:13:01] Vicki Markussen: You’ve received from other businesses, how can you help other businesses and Yes. Get them stronger. Is that something you’re gonna be posting on social media? What is, how
[00:13:08] Kelsey Anderson: would people know? Yes. Okay. Yeah. We’ll put a, a kind of schedule on social media of the next upcoming businesses. Like I said, the first one we’re going to be doing is.
[00:13:16] Kelsey Anderson: Is August 1st and we’re going to be featuring the butcher shop in Hoka, Minnesota. A really recently opened amazing butcher shop that also serves food. So they serve lunch and they have tons of grab and go items. There’s snack sticks are amazing, beef sticks and all that kind of stuff. So just a lot of yumminess there.
[00:13:38] Kelsey Anderson: Um, and the owners are. Amazing too. So that will be the first business that we’ll highlight. And then, yeah, lots of information to come on social media and our website. And
[00:13:48] Vicki Markussen: what’s to come next for you? Right. You’ve achieved the dream. You started out with, you have the coffee shop in La Crescent, but now I’m guessing you have wheels.
[00:13:58] Vicki Markussen: Turning going. Okay. What’s next?
[00:14:00] Kelsey Anderson: Yes. So many ideas on how we can make the shop better and La Crescent better. We are really building our menu, still adding more food items all of the time. Right now we just have a couple of food items. We’ve got like fruit and yogurt parfaits, and some grab and go things.
[00:14:18] Kelsey Anderson: We just started making grilled cheese in our oven and we’re also doing three different types of breakfast sandwiches and so that has been a huge hit. But we’re gonna add like some paninis and some other things just to offer more lunch items. And then, yeah, we’ve got an outdoor patio. We’d like to add more live music on a regular basis and support local musicians that way as well.
[00:14:42] Kelsey Anderson: And then, yeah, just so many ideas on how to make it even better. Yep.
[00:14:47] Vicki Markussen: And something tells me you’re somehow gonna tie in supporting local and some of those opportunities. Yes. As well. ’cause I see the, the theme coming up. Yeah. So my last question for you is, what makes you passionate about what you do at this
[00:15:02] Kelsey Anderson: business?
[00:15:03] Kelsey Anderson: Coffee is our passion as well as community. So we’ve always been, our family has always been coffee drinkers. It’s definitely been a passion of ours and just that having that gourmet coffee, you know, black coffee will do. But having a really good latte or having a really good Americano it’s just like nothing else.
[00:15:23] Kelsey Anderson: Yeah. So coffee’s always been our passion. And bringing that to La Crescent has always been an inspiration. And then bringing community together with coffee is actually our slogan. It’s on our logo. So bringing community together with coffee is definitely has driven us this far and will continue to drive our.
[00:15:43] Kelsey Anderson: Our aspirations from here. That’s
[00:15:45] Vicki Markussen: great. And if anything else trying an ado, it’s because it’s not offered everywhere,
[00:15:51] Kelsey Anderson: so Yes, for
[00:15:52] Vicki Markussen: sure. Yeah. So you’ve been listening to Kelsey Anderson, the co-owner with her hardworking husband, Raymond at Affogato Lane Coffee Company. They are on the, what would it be, Northeast corner of Walnut.
[00:16:07] Vicki Markussen: I mean right downtown, right by Quillin’s there, and you’ll have to give their ado a try. This has been Biz Cast Greater La Crosse with your host, Vicki Markussen. We’ll catch you next week.