Coffee and Adventure
Wanderlust Cowgirl Coffee, in Panguitch, UT, is excellence within the coffee world. They truly love their customers and want you to feel welcomed and cared for. Whether you are wanting a quick quality latte on the go, a fresh-baked pastry, WiFi access, or a tasty sandwich and a hip atmosphere, they have your back.They truly desire to give their customer excellence in all they do. Their vision is to create a space that encourages community through the atmosphere, the loving baristas and bakers, and at the same time serve you premium espresso drinks, delicious homemade baked goods, and a variety of breakfast and lunch items made in-house. The fresh-baked items include cinnamon rolls, orange rolls and the owner Stacie Van Tassell’s specialty Kolaches. One of Stacie’s best customer’s Josh refers to the slightly sweet, butter raised dough of the Kolache as, “Pillows of goodness.”
Of course, there is a meaning behind the name of this unique coffee shop. Stacie says, “A girlfriend of mine calls me her ‘wanderlust’, meaning a seeker of adventures, not things.” Stacie loves the outdoors and riding horses, hence the ‘cowgirl’ and lastly she has a passion for coffee. During a quick work trip to Germany she took an impromptu barista class and fell in love with coffee and all it has to offer.
Finding a Market
Wanderlust Cowgirl Coffee has been in business for four years. Stacie moved her family from Lehi, UT. so they could enjoy a more rural lifestyle. She moved to Panquitch to get her kids “more dirt” and to enjoy the amazing mountains and all the adventures they can find in their own backyard. As a family, Stacie and her kids compete in the rodeo arena. She says, “One of her greatest joys is watching her kids excel in rodeo and anything else they set their minds to.”
While still living in Lehi she was inspired to open a drive up coffee shop. She decided to open a coffee shop in Panguitch because there was a huge market for it with all the international travelers that come to Garfield County for recreation. Coffee and specifically espresso are a huge draw for European travelers. She bought her cabin style coffee shop in Bosie, Idaho and had it brought to Panquitch to open shop.
When asked what the biggest hurdle was in opening her business, Stacie jokingly replied, “All of it.” “Probably everything about running a business other than the interaction with people. I love customer service, I love people and I have had the chance to meet the neatest people.” Stacie has met a Shaman, a woman from New Zealand riding her bike across America, and many European travelers with a love for coffee and adventure. As Stacie puts it, “Coffee fits with adventure.”
Customer Service is Key
Stacie prides her business on the ‘whole experience”. She has a saying in the window of her shop that says, “you are your own business card.” Customer service is one of the keys to her success as a business owner. Also, she prides herself on getting really fresh coffee beans, top of the line equipment and she fulfills the specialty niche of espresso. Stacie believes, “Coffee is hands down a big part of many people’s culture, maybe not Utah’s, but to a lot of travelers to our state” She has been in business long enough now that people have told her they planned part of their return visit to Utah around coming to her shop to have her coffee or a Kolache.
One of Stacie’s biggest challenges in owning her own business has been asking people for help, it has caused her to step outside of her comfort zone. She has found the “coffee world” to be a great community willing to help each other out. Stacie says, “There are a lot of people doing it [coffee] but not a lot of people doing it well. Just like having a really good winery, brewery or bakery there is a niche and you need to find that niche.”
Stacie emphasizes, “Just step out of your comfort zone and ask people questions and learn. The key is to ask and not feel like people want to take over your business-just learn.” There is also finding a balance between her biggest blessing her kids, and work. Some amazing advice she received from a mentor of hers was, “Include the kids in the business, this is their life too and it what’s what you do as a family.” So, in the summer, there is a chance you will find both Zoson and Amalia in the shop with their mom.