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News / Business / Clark County Business

Mobile café business Pacific Perks brews up franchising deal

Arizona woman to open franchise coffee service in Phoenix area

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 29, 2024, 6:02am
5 Photos
Matt Newcombe, left, co-owner of International Graphics and Nameplate, grabs a coffee as his dog, Gracie, 7, enjoys a Puppuccino from Natalie Fairchild of Pacific Perks Jan. 11. Born out of a family crisis, Pacific Perks has been serving coffee at Southwest Washington&rsquo;s businesses and events for 16 years. Now, the company has awarded its first franchise in Arizona.
Matt Newcombe, left, co-owner of International Graphics and Nameplate, grabs a coffee as his dog, Gracie, 7, enjoys a Puppuccino from Natalie Fairchild of Pacific Perks Jan. 11. Born out of a family crisis, Pacific Perks has been serving coffee at Southwest Washington’s businesses and events for 16 years. Now, the company has awarded its first franchise in Arizona. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Elaine Evans, an Arizonan, spent a cold January day serving up lattes at a manufacturing company in Salmon Creek. Before that week, she’d never made fancy coffee drinks. But within days, she’d be going back to Arizona to make her Pacific Perks franchise territory her own.

The mobile café business, Pacific Perks Coffee, has grown from its founders whipping up drinks at local events to employing nearly 30 people. Now the company has reached a new milestone, awarding its first franchise territory.

When she got started, Natalie Fairchild was living in Colorado with her husband and daughters. Her now-former husband was facing health struggles.

“The world was kicking his rear-end,” she said.

The couple decided they needed better work-life balance and jobs where they could work together to support their family.

They had friends who owned a similar type of mobile café business in Denver. The couple later bought their friends’ business plan and trained with them.

Sixteen years ago, they brought their family back to the Pacific Northwest, where Fairchild was from, and launched Pacific Perks.

“We bought one cart and enough beans for six months,” Fairchild said. “We dialed for dollars.”

Pacific Perks offers its services to local schools, companies and event organizers wanting to provide specialty coffee drinks to employees or event attendees for a single fee paid in advance by the hosting organization.

The company grew and grew, now having 28 employees, most of whom are “Perkologists,” or baristas.

Last year, Pacific Perks became a million-dollar company.

The company had its highest-grossing month in December, with 22 event bookings going out on a single day.

The company has other locations in the Portland metro area, but Evans got the company’s first franchise award.

Fairchild’s team has been working on franchising for two years now, looking for an ideal franchisee.

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They loved Evans. Evans’ territory will include Phoenix’s east valley, encompassing towns such as Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa.

She encountered Pacific Perks at a franchise expo last spring.

“I love what they were all about,” Evans said. “I love that their model is creating experience and appreciation and recognition for people.”

Perkologists are allowed to set their own schedules — a benefit of their company culture. With the varying schedules, there is a large pool of Perkologists to work at local events.

Many Perkologists have outside responsibilities — parents whose kids are in school and people aiming to start their own businesses.

But Fairchild said the goal is for employees to have a strong work-life balance.

“My dream is to have many more franchises,” Fairchild said. “I really want to be able to give the opportunity to people to thrive, have success and balance a life.

“That’s my mission in life,” she added.

Fairchild finds joy in seeing her business grow — getting trademarks, becoming a franchise, awarding the first franchise territories.

Like with many businesses, Pacific Perks sees ebbs and flows. Business is booming in December when companies are having holiday parties. Come January, things slow down considerably. Fairchild has had to get comfortable with it.

“You can get really freaked out a little bit,” she said.

To balance the slow coffee times, Pacific Perks offers sundae bars and other services.

Taking risks and moving her business up to the next level can be scary, Fairchild said.

“You hope that your risk will pay off,” she said. “We’ve been very lucky in that.”

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