Coffee dream ground into reality

Carl Johnson, inside Sugar Daddy’s coffee shop last week, recently opened the stand with his wife Michele.   - Photo by Jesse Beals
Carl Johnson, inside Sugar Daddy’s coffee shop last week, recently opened the stand with his wife Michele.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Carl and Michele Johnson first started making coffee together at the Olympic High School espresso stand when they were seniors in 1994.

More than 10 years later, the husband and wife duo have opened their own coffee stand not far from the school on Fairgrounds Road.

Sugar Daddy’s, named after Michele’s nickname for Carl, started as a dream for the couple and just recently they ventured out as entrepreneurs of their own coffee stand, located in front of Handy Andy’s on Silverpine Drive.

“We met in high school and ran the espresso stand together,” Carl said. “That’s where we learned. We got refreshed and the only difference now is the lingo.”

He adds that it is the Starbucks craze that has added a new coffee language.

“It’s now a double tall grande ‘mochachino’ instead of a 16-ounce mocha,” he said with a laugh.

Besides the new terms that have surfaced since 1994, the rest remains the same for the couple when they’re serving espresso. Since opening Sugar Daddy’s in late-October, Carl has created his own signature drink which he dubbed “The Sugar Daddy.” Careful not to give away its signature ingredients, he says it can be made hot, cold or blended.

Together Carl and Michele operate Sugar Daddy’s on their own without any employees. Carl can be found at the coffee stand during the week with plenty of enthusiasm and friendliness to go with customers’ morning lattés or afternoon mochas.

“I’m a people person, I like to see people,” Carl said. “The support you get from your community, it’s a really cool feeling.”

Working full-time during the week at a local audiologist’s office, Michele gets a chance to work the stand and greet customers on the weekends.

Sugar Daddy’s offers an array of holiday-inspired drinks including eggnog, gingerbread and candy cane-flavored coffee drinks as well as the usual favorites such as espressos, lattés, cappuccinos, mochas, Italian sodas, hot chocolate, frozen hot chocolate, spiced cider, Chai tea, green tea and plenty of other choices.

“We have danishes and muffins to go along with all of our drinks,” Carl said.

To separate themselves from the many other coffee stands in the area, Carl and Michele strive to offer low prices.

“We’re one of the cheapest around,” Carl said.

Latté lovers can pick up a 16-ounce double shot latté for $2.70 and any extra shots or flavors for any drinks are 30 cents each, which Carl says is cheaper than many other coffee shops.

For those customers on foot, the walk-in stand appeals not only to drive-up customers.

“When it’s snowing out you can come inside and get warm,” Carl said last Thursday as he gazed outside at the falling snow as it blanketed the parking lot.

Just a few weeks ago during Monday Night Football, he had the TV on and before he knew it the shop was full of guys watching the game who had just stopped by to get a coffee.

Sugar Daddy’s is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

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