Pay It Forward – Sister’s CoffeeHouse

I am happy to present to you our fourteenth local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Sister’s CoffeeHouse.

Our recent Lake County business featured was Nicole & Nick Gentry, owners of Grillagan’s Island, who chose to Pay it Forward to Diane & Erin, owners of Sister’s CoffeeHouse

The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.

Sister’s CoffeeHouse is a locally owned and operated custom coffee shop specializing in a variety of hot and cold drinks and mouth-watering grab-go breakfast and lunch options. They take pride in fresh ingredients and stress putting love in every custom order. Their delicious drinks range from Blue Raspberry Shakes to Caramel Frappes with sugar-free and Keto options available. How about a Lavender White Mocha with Blackberry drizzle?

To satisfy your food craving, they offer a variety of pastries – everything from cinnamon rolls to assorted donuts and muffins. Sister’s CoffeeHouse also offers their logo apparel, offering children’s and adult sweatshirts, t-shirts, and more. You can order online with Door Dash available, dine-in, outdoor seating or in-store pickup. Sister’s CoffeeHouse is located in Clearlake and according to their reviews, they do not disappoint.

  1. Why did you decide to start your own business?

We were in the right place at the right time. The coffee shop was for sale and we both were between jobs. Erin had worked at the coffee shop with the previous owner and had experience working with coffee, the regular customers and the location. I (Diane) was a manager at Walmart and had experience helping to run a business as well as generate orders, merchandising etc., so we both had unique and vital experience to bring to the table.

The main deciding factor for me was my one-year-old daughter. I didn’t want to have to send her to daycare or have a stranger raise her. Owning our own business afforded me the opportunity to have her with us at the shop every day. Erin and I grew up in restaurants where our mom waitressed, and being able to have my daughter close and be raised by two strong independent women was the best thing that could have ever happened to us.

  1. How do you deal with fear and doubt?

We are so fortunate to have each other as business partners and sisters. Nobody understands your struggles and your successes like your family and your best friend and we are lucky to be both!

  1. How does your business look different now vs. when you first started?

When we first took over, there were only 10 or 15 different flavor options to choose from. We now have over 70, including over 20 different sugar-free options. There was a tiny little case for donuts and cookies and now we have a bunch of grab & go breakfast and lunch items. We are much more confident as baristas, business owners and closer as partners, sisters and besties!

  1. How do you set your business apart from others in your industry?

We make every drink with love! If we wouldn’t drink it ourselves, we don’t serve it. We try to retain employees with integrity, honesty, and loyalty that will represent us when we aren’t there.

We have very high standards when it comes to consistency, cleanliness and customer service, so it’s important that our employees do the same so that no matter what time of day you come in, you know you’ll get the same great drink with the same great service every time.

Also, we really listen to our customers and bring in the things they want. We’ve added the most diabetic and Keto friendly options on this side of the lake and we are constantly learning and trying out the latest drink trends so customers can get exactly what they want. We are here to cater directly to our customer base in order for them to come in and enjoy the comfortable, welcoming environment and leave happier every time!

  1. What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?

The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is dealing with things out of your control that affect your business. We’ve been here for six years and survived fires, rolling blackouts, covid, a downward-trending economy, and big corporate competition.

It’s always scary when you have a slow day/week because you think, “Is this the beginning of the end of our small-town business?” And we don’t have a corporate safety net to fall back on. If we don’t succeed, it’s not like we can just go work at another location and someone else absorbs the loss. Every napkin, cup and sprinkle comes out of our pocket and being in a small town, reputation is everything. So we work tirelessly to make sure to get the right products, right prices and right employees to continue to meet the needs of our customers, community and ourselves.

  1. What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

The best part about being an entrepreneur is that we aren’t a corporation or chain. We have 100% freedom to choose what we do/don’t want to sell here. We can add or take away items without having to consult with anyone else. It’s given us and our employees the creative freedom to come up with some wild and delicious recipes that have impacted our customers and community.

We have built amazing relationships with customers and vendors and have people from other towns (even as far as Oregon!) tell us that they heard about the ‘spider bite’ or ‘cloud foam’ and they had to stop in and try it. People that vacation here during the summer look forward to coming to see us when they are in town. Mostly looking around our coffee shop and knowing that everything inside that building represents my sister and I and who we are as people.

When we go out into town together and we hear people say, “hi sisters!” we know them by name (and drink order) and usually their family and friends, too. Being a part of this community and knowing that we brighten people’s day with the love we put into everything we do means the world to us both.

  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

We always say there’s no place we’d rather be than with each other, serving delicious drinks to our favorite customers and being able to make all of our days better with the love and care we put into every drop we serve! But if we were anywhere else… it would be on a white sandy beach, with crystal clear blue water, my sister and a great cup of coffee!

Diane & Erin – Owners of Sister’s CoffeeHouse
14812 Olympic Drive
Clearlake, CA 95422
Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Facebook @SistersCoffeeHouse
Instagram @SistersCoffeeHouse

Diane & Erin would like to Pay it Forward to Kingdom Games in Clearlake.
Stay tuned for Kingdom Games!

Lori Armstrong

Lori began her career in the legal field, leaving that position to pursue full-time writing endeavors. Being a criminal court reporter for the Record-Bee, she balances the chaos in her brain by writing children's books and reflective pieces. When time allows, she publishes books for Amazon.

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