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Business Wednesday: Cafe goes green

Alisa Short, owner of Alisa's Custom Coffee on U.S. Hwy. 101 S., discusses her new business on Tuesday. In the foreground is a ‘Greenware' cup, which is made from corn and is environmentally sustainable.  (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Alisa Short, owner of Alisa's Custom Coffee on U.S. Hwy. 101 S., discusses her new business on Tuesday. In the foreground is a ‘Greenware' cup, which is made from corn and is environmentally sustainable. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

By Kelley Atherton

Alisa Short serves up coffee with a green twist.

The green twist being recycled and environmentally sustainable materials, that is.

Alisa's Custom Coffee offers breakfast and lunch along with coffee and pastries from Glen's Bakery—standard caf fare. However, what Short hopes will set her business apart is the green element.

After working in a variety of coffee places in Crescent City for the last 10 years, Short loved the part-time jobs, but was never satisfied

"Out of all the places, there was something missing," Short said.

Either there was only one drive-through, which backed up traffic, no seating or no food.

Short, her boyfriend Daniel Gillis and his father, Grant, collectively designed Alisa's to combine all of those missing pieces.

"It was my dream to do this," Short said.

The caf at U.S. Hwy. 101 S. across from Patriot Gas Station has two drive-throughs, where patrons can pick up a coffee drink, a light breakfast, lunch or snack. There's also seating for roughly 10-12 people inside and out. There's also a delivery service for businesses.

The organic, fair-trade coffee is from RayJen Coffee in Bandon, Ore. Breakfast options are English muffins or a yogurt and granola bowl. For lunch, there are cups or bread bowls of clam chowder or broccoli cheddar soup and two daily special soups and salads.

"It's a small restaurant, we have more to offer than just coffee," she said about what sets her apart from other coffee establishments.

The trio tried buying a couple of businesses, but nothing worked out so they decided to do it themselves from the ground up. Finding the lot was the hardest part, but construction and getting the venture open only took about four months. Alisa's opened on July 1.

Daniel Gillis said that in their research they learned more about green building.

"You can't watch TV for an hour without seeing a commercial about it," Short said about how common "being green" has become.

The reality of climate change made the family realize that they can do something to help save the earth's resources. Being green has become "the right thing to do," Short said. In addition, drawing attention to using sustainable or recycled materials and alternative energy sources will make others aware.

The structure is made from composite wood materials and they're looking into solar energy. Daniel wants to get the building certified green.

"We've made it as green as possible," he said.

Grant Gillis said that eventually green will be the norm. However, it's up to individuals to make changes in their lives to take care of their world.

"The more you let people know, it becomes the every-day," he said.

The cups at Alisa's are made from corn and can be recycled. The flatware is made from potatoes and looks primitive, but is sturdier than plastic. These can be washed and reused. Short also made a conscious decision to have healthy food options.

Whether the alternative ideas will pay off has yet to be seen. Having been open less than a month, business is good, Short said. She might expand and fine-tune the menu later, and she plans to install a TV and Wi-Fi for customers in the immediate future.

Short said that she's not in competition with other coffee spots, even Starbucks, because they all offer different products and atmospheres. She has her customer base and other places have their customer base.

However, without her experience, she would be a little nervous about surviving as a small business.

"I've lived here since I was nine, I've been doing this for 10 years and have a customer base," Short said about why she believes Alisa's will survive. "If I hadn't done this before I'd be freaking out."

Even in this economy, when people are tightening their belts, she said there's room for everyone.

"(Crescent City) has done nothing but grow," she said. "The town can hold it."

Alisa's opens up early for truckers and early birds at 4:30 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. during the week and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekend. For more information call 464-5111.

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