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Brewing fresh java and friendships

Teresa Gordon often jokes that she has coffee running through her veins.

After starting at the bottom of the ladder as a 24-year-old barista and then working her way up to a manager position at Latte 101 for 11 years, Gordon bought Hurricane Coffee Company June 13. But she isn’t worried about any Friday the 13th superstitions.

“This is a fresh start for me to make something new, move forward and fill a need,” she said optimistically.

Gordon purchased the coffeehouse from Kyla Becker, who started the business nine years ago and continues to own and operate Reddog Coffee — formerly Hurricane Coffee Express — on South Sequim Avenue, which opened two years ago. Becker sold half of the business to lighten her workload.

“I just decided I wanted to simplify my life,” Becker said. “I was tired of being pulled in multiple directions and wanted to get back behind the counter as a barista.”

“The logical choice was to keep the drive-through because I own that property,” Becker continued. “So, I started looking for a ‘mom’ who would keep what makes Hurricane special while bringing her own style to the table.”

The decision to sell the coffeehouse wasn’t made lightly. “I would have died a slow death if the wrong person bought the business,” Becker said. “It’s my baby and I wanted somebody to take over who will love it as much as I do.”

Owning a coffeehouse, Becker said, is a lifestyle not a profession. “You do it 24 hours a day and the staff becomes your family. I knew I had to find somebody who would buy the lifestyle and not just the business.”

Gordon, according to Becker, is the perfect candidate.

“Teresa brings everything I was looking for to the table,” Becker bragged. “She has experience, youth and ambition — the whole package.”

For Gordon, who describes herself as a “people person,” the best part about working in the coffee industry is getting to know customers. “Relationships are huge to me,” she said. “To create an atmosphere where people work and enjoy what they are doing and the people they interact with is a blessing.”

“For me, everything starts with my employees,” Gordon, a longtime Sequim resident, continued. “I know if I am respectful, giving and kind and project that onto my employees that they will put that back into the community. It’s a circle.”

Gordon said she is being careful not to make too many transformations too fast but would like to start participating in the First Friday Art Walk of Sequim and offering more community events at the coffeehouse. “I want to get to know the employees and the customer base before I make too many changes,” she explained.

Aug. 11-15 customers will be appreciated with special promotions, door prizes, free drip coffee, dollar drinks and more. A larger food selection and specialty drinks also are in the works.

A coffeehouse, according to Gordon, should be a place where people feel comfortable. To ensure that customers feel at home, Hurricane Coffee Company employees are trained to remember the small but important things — faces, names and favorite drinks.

“Everybody needs someplace to go, a place of their own where they are recognized, wanted and appreciated,” Gordon said. “This isn’t just my place, it’s your place.”

Meanwhile, with the sale final, Becker is focusing her efforts on rebranding the drive-through. “For me, that’s the most fun, creating a new label and atmosphere people can get excited about.”

Reddog — pronounced “Red Dog” — Coffee is, in Becker’s opinion, 100-percent different from Hurricane Coffee Company. “We wanted something silly, in-your-face and off the cuff,” she said. “Hurricane has a very classy feel and I was looking for something completely different from that. You can afford to be casual with a drive-through because customers are looking for a great, quick cup of coffee and to be on their way.”

Frequent customer punch cards and business cards with the new Reddog label will begin circulating immediately. The sign is expected to go up by the end of July.

Even though she’s moving on, Becker vowed she’ll never forget the employees and customers she met and served at the coffeehouse. “The nine years I had at Hurricane was a lot of fun,” she said to the community. “Thank you.”

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