Spokane Journal of Business

Indaba Coffee plans to move roasting operations to Spokane Valley

Company places larger focus on online, wholesale orders

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Bobby Enslow, owner of Indaba Coffee Roasters, plans to move roasting operations to a building in Spokane Valley from the current location at the company’s Nettleton Street store.

In an effort to diversify operations, Indaba Coffee Roasters owner Bobby Enslow has leased warehouse space where he will move all roasting operations with the goal of boosting online sales.

The 1,700-square-foot warehouse is located at 204 S. Koren, about two blocks south of the Costco Wholesale Corp. store in Spokane Valley.

“The plan is primarily to grow the e-commerce and wholesale space from that location,” says Enslow.

Other plans for that space include expanding shipping capacity, creating a training facility for new hires, and constructing a small tasting room and possible event space, he says.

Indaba opened its first retail store at 1425 W. Broadway, in west Spokane, in 2009. Six years later, the roasting company opened its second coffee shop, which is located at 210 N. Howard, downtown. Then, in early 2018, he opened three separate coffee shops. In that a flurry of activity, he opened an Indaba at 1315 W. Summit Parkway, in Kendall Yards; another at 419 N. Nettleton, also in Kendall Yards; and the other at 518 W. Riverside, downtown. The company’s roasting operations are located at the Nettleton Street site now, Enslow says.

“That space is barely adequate for all of the roasting that we do,” he says. “The warehouse will help meet our growing demand.”

Now 36, Enslow says operating during the COVID-19 pandemic has further confirmed to him that it’s important to have a diversified business operation.

In the last few years, Indaba Coffee Roasters built its online presence increasing orders to individual customers and wholesalers.

“We were in a better position than probably a lot of other businesses and could absorb the pandemic,” Enslow says.

Despite the physical closures of the retail stores due to state mandates designed with the goal of stemming the virus’ spread, Indaba continued to take online orders and started curbside service, Enslow says.

Upon reopening, however, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, he shut down all five stores for a few days as a safety precaution.

“We were trending well, but that event was a bit of a hit,” Enslow says.

It’s his observation that when restaurants and coffee shops close, people lose their routines.

“Your truly loyal customers come back, but there are a lot of people who haven’t returned since we reopened,” he says. “Ultimately, they’ll go elsewhere.”

Recent warm weather has allowed for steadier outside seating, but that will change come fall, he says.

“That’s why developing the online side of the business is so important to future survival,” he says.

Kevin Blocker
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