Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Despite shop's name, nothing lazy about Lazy Latte's owner

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo by McKIbben Jackinsky

Since making her first espressos at the age of 9, Rosa Jaime's dream was to own her own espresso business. Since 2009, the now 21-year-old has: Lazy Latte in Anchor Point.

Everything says "relaxed" at Lazy Latte: the yawning cup of joe that is the business logo, the hanging baskets of flowers moving slowly in a gentle afternoon breeze, the soft gray exterior of the 12-foot-by-24-foot building.

A telltale sign that there's more than caffeine energy afoot, however, can be seen in the two drive-through windows, making it convenient for vehicles headed in either of two directions.

The source of the energy is Rosa Jaime, the owner and operator.

At 23, Jaime is doing exactly what she's wanted to do since she was a youngster.

"It's been a dream of mine to have my own espresso shop from age 13 up," said Rosa. "This is all I wanted to do."

Rosa credits her mother, Robin, for giving her the experience to make the business a reality. Robin's husband, R.J., died when his commercial fishing boat sank and her son, Jesse, died in an automobile accident. As a single parent with three daughters — Rosa is the youngest — in a small town that offered few employment opportunities for her daughters, Robin took matters into her own hands. In 1998, using insurance money from her husband and son's deaths, she opened Kaotic Koffee, a small espresso business next to Anchor Point Tesoro, now owned by Petro Marine.

By age 10, Rosa was learning to brew espresso along with her sisters, Katie and Maria. Although she was good at it, Robin waited until Rosa was older before she allowed her to work her own shift.

"It was a matter of public perception. Nobody's going to buy a $3 cup from a 10-year-old," said Robin. "She could have done it at 10, but do you want a little kid making your drink?"

The summer before Rosa began high school, she ran Kaotic Koffee all by herself, from ordering supplies to making bank deposits to doing the shopping to serving beverages. When Robin decided to sell the little building the business was in, she relocated the espresso machine inside the Tesoro station and Rosa continued working for her from that location. When Robin took time off from managing the station, Rosa filled in there, too.

"She took care of fuel orders, bank deposits and the heavy-duty bookkeeping," said Robin. "She stepped up pretty good."

After graduating from high school, Rosa used a cheerleading scholarship to pursue a degree in business, but returned to Anchor Point a year later.

"I tried different jobs, working as a receptionist in a medical clinic, waitressing, working in hotels. I've done it all, tried little bits and pieces of everything," she said. "But coffee and my own shop is where my heart was. There was nothing else I wanted to do."

Committed to her dream, Rosa found a location available to rent that was "not exactly where I wanted to be, but it's close enough. I wanted to make sure I could get it before we went too far on the building."

In the spring of 2009, with the help of Grant Glanville and Ian Weatherly, she constructed the one-room building that offers plenty of room to prepare beverages and store inventory.

"We built it from the ground up. It took two months and we opened Memorial Day two years ago," she said.

Rosa's one employee, Kelsie Parkinson, has been with her since she opened. In a slight reversal of roles and because most of Rosa's time is spent hard at work, her mom helps pick up supplies and makes bank deposits if the need arises.

"She's not just a mom or role model, she's my best friend. Everything I ever needed to know in life, business or coffee was from her. She lives by example," said Rosa. "No way this place is possible without my mom."

Looking to the future, Rosa sometimes thinks about opening a sit-down café that serves soups and sandwiches, but she has no definite plans to expand at this time.

When it comes to challenges, the ones Rosa has faced as a business owner are the same every new business owner faces, "except for the fact that I was already established. I'd been making coffee in this town for 10 years. Everybody knew me and knew the coffee I served," she said.

As far as advice goes, Rosa offers the path she took.

"The biggest thing I can say is to find what makes you happy and what you like to do and find a way to do that every day," she said.

"And hold on tight because it's one hell of a ride."