Photo courtesy of Lariat Coffee Roasters
Bob Gamblin and Lori Loomis started Lariat Coffee Roasters in 2007.

Coffee, gifts and more offered at new site

Until recently, the Lariat Coffee Roasters retail, manufacturing and office operations were housed together in an off-the-beaten-path space on Horizon Flats. Lariat loyalists find their way to the building, but it’s not exactly a tourism destination.

Recently, the husband-and-wife team who own Lariat, Bob Gamblin and Lori Loomis, opened a new retail space right in the middle of the action in downtown Winthrop, next to Rocking Horse Bakery. The space, formerly occupied by Methow Masala, is connected to Rocking Horse through a short passageway. Lariat coffees are served in the bakery.

Lariat’s new shop offers bags of coffee, bottles of Black Colt cold brew and coffee-making equipment, of course, along with branded goods such as glazed stoneware mugs and T-shirts. It also doubles as a gift shop, with an eclectic collection of items that Loomis describes as “homey.”

Gifts include soap, baby clothing, glassware, honey, jams and jellies, chocolates, syrups, candles, pillows, blankets, towels, bags, truffles and more. There are also a few furniture items, and original art by local artists Tamara Abate and Shaila Yovan Tenovio, as well as jewelry by Jenny Tissel, former owner of the Retro Pony and Trick Pony gift stores. The shop also sells tea (from a company in Bellingham), Loomis said, “because not everyone drinks coffee.”

“We thought about a downtown spot for years until we found the right place,” Loomis said. The obvious motivation was to have a higher-profile presence. Another benefit, Loomis said, is that moving retail operations down to Riverside Avenue opens up needed space for roasting at Horizon Flats, where Lariat is at capacity.

“We wanted to be as viable as possible, so people can buy things that pair well with the idea of coffee in your kitchen at home, or pair well with our brand,” Loomis said.

Loomis said she did her own research online, and by looking at similar small businesses, to develop the gifts collection. She focused on high-quality products with reasonable price points.

Limited edition roast

“I wanted it to feel like walking into someone’s home,” she said, but not too cluttered, claustrophobic or “over the top.”

Lariat also recently introduced a limited edition roast called “Limited Reserve.” The green beans are first aged in a repurposed whiskey barrel (from Woodinville Whiskey Company) and then roasted. The result is coffee “that has the aroma and taste of whiskey, without the alcohol,” Loomis said.

“Limited Reserve” is made in small batches and packaged in 12-ounce, brown paper bags, and sells out quickly, Loomis said. It is only sold in the Riverside Avenue store, not in any of the usual retail outlets. “It’s unique, and it tastes good,” Loomis said. She especially likes it with a dash of half-and-half.

Reaction to the new space has been positive, Loomis said. She said she will be at the Riverside Avenue shop most of the time so she can hear from customers directly.

Gamblin and Loomis did most of the build-out construction in the space themselves. Marty Darling painted the shops signs. Barry Stromberg created brackets for the shelves.

Loomis and Gamblin founded the coffee company in 2007, when it was originally called Backcountry Coffee Roasters. They moved from Twisp to the Horizon Flats site in 2010. The company was rebranded to Lariat in 2013.

Lariat is at 265 Riverside Ave., Suite B. For information, visit lariatcoffee.com or call 996-4240.