Pam Larkin was once a teacher with a master’s degree that felt unfulfilled in her career. She decided to change paths in 2009 and take a chance on buying a coffee shop in Tacoma, which is now known as Wolfe Club Coffee.
Larkin didn’t have any prior experience in the coffee industry before buying the shop beside her daughter working at a local coffee shop. She decided to purchase the shop that would become Wolfe Club Coffee out of her love for coffee and originally named it “Brew it 4 u.” Larkin hired her three children, Kirsten Basargin, Mark Larkin, and Regan Robinson, to work alongside a few of the shop’s previous employees.
“It was so lame,” said Basargin. “We weren’t that popular or very good at all and we had it for a long time.”
Business began to turn around for the shop in 2015, when both Basargin and Mark obtained their bachelor’s degrees in advertising and publishing respectively. They asked Larkin if they could help rebrand the shop and commit to reconstructing it to what it is now. Basargin and Mark renamed the shop to Wolfe Club Coffee, adding a ’70s theme to the business. The team repainted, made new and original designs, designed merchandise and changed the whole menu.
Wolfe Club was created to be ’70s themed in honor of Larkin’s love for the era and how she raised her family on ‘70s music as well. ‘70s rock music can be heard blasting from the speakers in Wolfe Club Coffee and employees are regularly seen wearing classic rock band T-shirts.
(Left to right) Wolfe Club Coffee employees Jagger Hess, Rheza Barbante and Tanner Haskell ready to serve customers in their classic rock shirts and Wolfe Club merch.
“We based the whole ‘70s theme on the song ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, along with our love for bands like Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac,” said Basargin, “which we thought would connect with both older and younger audiences while being unique, something you don’t see a lot with many coffee shops.”
Basargin explained that Wolfe Club Coffee attracts many of their customers with their authentic house-made ingredients Mark created during their rebranding of the shop. Ingredients like their chai powder, honeymoon sauce and salted caramel are all original recipes by Mark that the shop continues to serve. Mark also created an all-natural plant-based energy drink called “Prayers” which they only use honey as a sweetener for and is brewed, kegged and tapped all at the coffee shop.
Although the shop has many loyal customers that come for its signature features, the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on customers. Wolfe Club cut down hours of operation and closed their shop for a couple of days during March 2020 to redesign to meet social distancing standards. When the shop reopened it ended up becoming busier than usual due to how they remained open and operated differently than close-contact restaurants or cafés.
“I think we were one of the few places people could go to and still feel more normal like the world wasn’t closing in on them, but while still being safe,” said Basargin.
Currently, the Wolfe Club Coffee team is focused on keeping Mark’s vision alive as he recently moved to North Carolina for a business opportunity. Basargin is continuing to create art for Wolfe Club and plans to make more stickers to give customers. Larkin will also begin construction to help expand the shop later on this year.
“The reason why we’ve been a success comes a lot from the heart my mom has for the shop and the community we serve, and we just want to continue serving our customers to the fullest,” said Basargin.
Wolfe Club Coffee is located at 12901 Pacific Ave S Tacoma and more information regarding hours, menu items, merchandise and more can be found on the company’s webpage, along with their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Interview and article by @alexisg_news on Twitter.
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