2009 Mover and Shaker: Wes Herman, owner of The Woods Coffee

Once a small coffee shop, The Woods Coffee has grown to nine locations in Whatcom County and was recently named...

The Woods Coffee has always been an aggressive company.

Six months after opening their first coffee shop, the Herman family began working on a second location. Seven years later, there are now nine Woods locations in Whatcom County.

The business has also won several reader’s choice awards from the local media and was recently recognized as Best Coffee Shop of 2009 by Evening Magazine’s Best of Western Washington, an award once given to Starbucks.

“For a small, little company out of Whatcom County to get a significant award like that is pretty impressive,” said Wes Herman, owner of The Woods Coffee.

When the Herman family was first dreaming up The Woods Coffee — along with a business, financial and branding plan — one of the first things they did was to set up a family mission statement.

“That family mission statement was: to provide the opportunity for multiple generations to have their livelihood from what we do,” Herman said.

Herman and his wife have four children, and it was their love of coffee and Herman’s exposure to the coffee industry that spurred the idea to open a coffee shop. Now, Herman said, every one of his children is involved in the business in some way. For example, one of his daughters runs the general operations for all nine stores and his son is in charge of construction and has built out the interiors of every location.

“We are blessed to have kids who are still near us geographically and are involved in a company that they enjoy as well,” Herman said. “The business itself does a lot of wonderful things, but when it all comes down to it, the really gratifying part is working with your family and seeing them day-in and day-out.”

While Herman’s family runs the day-to-day operations, he said, he is out in the community looking for new opportunities and directions for the business.

“I am an entrepreneur at heart,” Herman said. “I have always owned businesses, so I get a little bit bored when it comes to the status quo. I am the one pushing the envelope and looking for new sites, talking with the community and involving ourselves in marketing opportunities. That is where I spend my time.”

Herman said community involvement has been key to the success of The Woods. Approximately 80 percent of The Woods’ vendors are local businesses, and Herman frequently donates coffee to support local charities. He said he recognizes that Whatcom County is a place that embraces and supports local endeavors, so he supports local and the community is responding.

“We give of ourselves in many different ways in this community, so we are really tied to the community. We have become the local, community-driven coffee shop and we work hard at every single detail,” he said. “Most people can do 90 percent of what we do, but most of them can’t do 100 percent of what we do. That is what sets us apart.”

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