New coffee shop aims to become the Tri-City’s new favorite

An entrepreneurial couple and an experienced coffee shop leader plan to create the new “it” coffee chain in the Tri-Cities.

The key ingredients to make it a success? An experienced staff. Quality coffee. Locally-made breakfast foods from Tsp Bake Shop and El Fat Cat Grill. Top-notch customer service.

Swigg Coffee Bar opened at 4845 Broadmoor Blvd. in Pasco, off Road 100, after buying the former Fuel Up Café on Aug. 8. It has a walk-up window, drive-thru and outdoor tables.

Developers Lori and Jeff Wenner teamed up with Jerick Guilliam to launch Swigg Coffee Bar, changing the entire look of the coffee stand and developing a vision to replicate it around the Tri-Cities.

The new business has plans to expand to more locations in 18 months, Guilliam said.

The second Swigg location is coming in 2023 to Bombing Range Road in West Richland, across the street from Yoke’s Fresh Market. The Wenners’ $6 million development there includes three buildings.

They are excited about their partnership with Guilliam. The three are co-owners.

Earlier this year the Wenners paid $1.3 million for 2 acres between Smitty’s Paradise Gas and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Our goal is to have five locations in Tri-Cities. We’re actively looking for land,” Lori said.

The West Richland coffee shop will be 1,300 square feet and will have the “feel of a smaller Starbucks” with walk-in tables, a bar area to sit and a drive-thru window, Lori said.

“We’re going to have a different feel than the other places,” she said.

The design work is done and construction may begin in February or spring.

A building rendering shows what the Swigg Coffee Bar on Bombing Range Boulevard in West Richland will look like. Developers Lori and Jeff Wenner said WL Architects/Kyle Lepper and Draftco Designs LLC/Melinko Kulasevic were instrumental in helping with the design and vision of the development. (Courtesy Lori and Jeff Wenner)

Experienced manager

Guilliam, 36, of Pasco, is overseeing daily operations of Swigg, tapping into his decade of experience managing Roasters, a popular local coffee chain that sold to Black Rock Coffee in 2021.

“I’m taking what I know and making it better,” Guilliam said, noting that he’s excited to own a business of his own. 

He feels the Tri-Cities has been missing a favorite locally-owned coffee shop.

“There are a lot of corporate and mom-and-pop shops but there’s not a local brand that the Tri-Cities can call their own,” he said.

Enter Swigg Coffee Bar and its vision.

“I know what the Tri-Cities likes,” he said.

That’s why the Wenners teamed up with him.

“He knows the coffee business,” Lori said.

“We knew Jerick over the years from his time at Roasters. This guy really hustles. … He’s amazing and great with customers,” Jeff said.

Guilliam cares about coffee craftmanship.

“We do really care. We’re investing time to train employees,” he said. The shop employs six people.

He said Swigg also cares about how its milk is steamed and the flavor-to-espresso ratio.

One of Swigg’s top sellers is The Missile, a breve white mocha with extra chocolate macadamia nut syrup. Tri-Citians love their white coffee, Guilliam said.

For those who prefer coffee flavor over sweeteners, Swigg has you covered.

Guilliam said he tries to limit himself to two espresso shots a day but admitted he had four that morning.

“I just like a really good espresso. It’s the purist in me I suppose,” he said.

Tasty breakfasts

Another way Swigg plans to set itself apart from other shops is its partnership with two local small businesses: Tsp Bake Shop, a bakery specializing in French patisserie classics in West Richland, and El Fat Cat Grill, which serves up Mexican food from a Kennewick food truck.

Swigg serves fresh scones and muffins from Tsp Bake Shop.

El Fat Cat provides Swigg with breakfast burritos (bacon, ham or chorizo, smoked gouda cheese and chipotle mayonnaise wrapped in a toasted flour tortilla) and sandwiches (carne asada, fried egg, colby and mozzarella cheese and chipotle mayonnaise on a toasted pub roll).

“They have a cult following. People love their freaking food,” Lori said.

“They’re pretty fricking awesome,” Guilliam agreed.

Swigg offers meal deals featuring pastries and hot food plus a signature drink.

“We’re selling as much food as we are coffee. It’s crazy,” Lori said.

Swigg Coffee Bar is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Its grand opening is Oct. 21 with a limited menu and drink specials.

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