By Anne Maertens
Business: Café de Rosas
Owner: Vanessa Rosas
Opening Date: March 16
Address: 2211 Rimland Drive (in the lobby)
Phone: (360) 647-4352
Square Footage: 90
Wedged between a wall and a stairwell in the Dorothy Haggen Building’s lobby is Café de Rosas, a small coffee stand serving up lattes, soup and sandwiches for people who work in the surrounding businesses.
Vanessa Rosas previously worked for Sterling Life Insurance on the second floor in the Dorothy Hagen Building, but when the previous coffee stand left the building, she decided to open her own stand.
“I’m young; I’m 26 years old,” Rosas said. “I figured what are the chances to have an opportunity to do this, and who knows what doors it will open?”
Although leaving Sterling was hard, she said she knew she wouldn’t be moving far.
At Sterling, she spent most of her time speaking to clients over the phone, but as a self-proclaimed extravert, she has found getting to know people face-to-face to be very rewarding.
“I get to build relationships with people,” Rosas said. “I’ve gone from knowing a handful of people in the building, to knowing the majority of the people.”
That is one of the benefits of serving a smaller volume of people, Rosas said. But Rosas does hope to grow, by either adding more stands in other office buildings or opening her own sit-down coffee shop.
As building employees pass by, Rosas calls out a friendly “hello,” joking about the “beautiful” rainy weather. One woman stops by the stand, saying that she needs a cup of the “delicious” chicken noodle soup.
The soup comes from Rosas’s catering supplier, Kelly’s O’Deli, which is located in Fairhaven. Rosas also serves Tony’s Coffee and Chuckanut Bay Foods’ muffins, which are made from local farm and dairy products.
Rosas said she hopes to eventually only sell items made by local companies, with an emphasis on organic ingredients. Not only is it what she would like to see, but it is what her clientele prefers as well.
This being her first business, Rosas said she was overwhelmed by all the work to get her business going. Working with the city to get all the permits signed was exhausting, but when it was done, she said it felt like crossing a finish line.
Now that she has been in business for nearly six months, she said she is very happy and it’s been a great experience. She enjoys being able to offer people a chance to take a break from their busy day.
“I just want [a café] that’s a getaway from people’s offices without them having to go too far — a place where they can sit down and chat over a cup of coffee,” Rosas said.