Today we’d like to introduce you to Patti Snell.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been a food based entrepreneur since I was 14. I started selling pies at a local farmers market when my parents went on vacation. When they returned I had taken over their kitchen. My business grew and I opened my first bakery in the basement of my parents’ house. We opened our first store in 1990 and then a second in 1991. I sold the bakery to be a full-time mom and we moved to Dallas in 1994 after having our 3rd child.
While staying home with the kids, I taught ice skating, opened school stores, volunteered in every capacity at the kid’s schools, organized drama programs etc. When our youngest was in high school I decided I was ready to go back to work.
I decided to renovate the historic Wells House in Plano and open Patti’s Place Tea Room & Bakery. After 18 months of city requirements, renovations and a ton of hard work we opened February 13, 2008. The line wrapped around the building and continued for 4 years.
I decided to start coffee roasting in 2007 because I only drink decaf. After having our kids, I developed an allergy to caffeine but I loved coffee. Traditionally decaf coffees are terrible much less flavored decaf. My intentions were only to provide the Tea House/restaurant with amazing coffee and to fulfill my need for better decaf. When I was offered the opportunity to sell the restaurant in 2011, I was happy to get out of the restaurant business but I maintained the coffee and tea portion of that business. I arrived home with my coffee roaster and 250+ varieties of tea and that’s when the fun began.
I spent a year blending, playing and experimenting with coffee and Coffee Junkie was born. I use only Free Trade Organic coffees and have funky flavors like Nutty Butterscotch Toffee and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. I would deliver coffee on my motorcycle, life was good! It was now time to work on my tea line. Once arriving home with 250 varieties I found out my husband preferred Crystal Lite. What?? I have served tea to the Queen of England, owned and managed many tea houses and my husband thinks all real tea tastes like wet cardboard. I immediately went to work blending and creating tea blends no one else is creating. My iced teas have no added sugar, artificial flavors or colors but taste naturally sweet. Healthy hydration. Oh, and my husband loves them!
I had now developed an awesome product line so I approached Central Market to become a vendor. After a year and a ton of free product I was accepted into the Plano Central Market store and with only coffee. But wait, the hitch is that I have to roast and blend my coffees in a commercial kitchen. I certainly did not want to open another restaurant much less afford to build a commercial kitchen for only 1 retail outlet. To solve this huge hurdle by opening The Craft Kitchen @ Patti’s Place.
The Craft Kitchen are groups of commercial rental kitchens that allow food based entrepreneurs the facility to jump start their business. It allowed me the facility to produce my own products and help many others as well. I was only hoping that I could get my business off the ground but it turned out that I was not the only business needing such a facility. I now have a new Craft Kitchen in Plano and a second in the Design District in Dallas where I now roast.
I am currently on the shelves of 4 local Central Markets and rent kitchen space to more than 20 local food based entrepreneurs. Last summer I made it to the top 25 HEB Quest for Texas Best and have the opportunity to be on the shelves of HEB stores.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Smooth…NO. The food business is extremely difficult. My biggest hurdle was when Central Market required I roast coffee in a commercial kitchen. I could not justify the cost to build my own space for only 1 retail outlet. When I decided to open the Craft Kitchen business it gave me the opportunity to jump start my own business.
My next hurdle, continues today and that is to be the best in my category. There is a lot of competition in the coffee business and I must be creative and unique if I am going to succeed.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Patti’s Place Inc. story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the happy mad scientist with coffee and tea. I specialize in fresh roasted organic coffees and uniquely blended organic teas. I have created unique processes and blends to create the most unique coffees and teas available. The most popular flavored coffee is Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie and Nutty Butterscotch Toffee. I even have created a coffee that tastes just like Dr. Pepper. The most popular tea is my Splash of Summer iced tea and the Earl of Plano black tea. I have created Barrel Aged Beans, where I age coffee beans in oak barrels that I have seasoned with my favorite whisky. I even have a single malt scotch barrel. I have created a beer barrel aged coffee and am working on a new barrel aged bean as we speak.
I have continued to create a Jelly Junkie line where, I make beer and whisky jellies that are awesome with cheese and continue to create new and interesting processes.
Opening the Craft Kitchen has allowed me to share my expertise in the food business and to help other food based entrepreneurs jump start their business.
I am proud to say I have won Best of the Big D for tea and made it to the top 25 Quest for Texas Best for coffee. I have served tea to the Queen of England along with other product recognitions.
As a company, I am very proud to support nonprofit organizations as well as being a trustee for the Awesome Foundation of Plano. I am currently working to save the Collinwood House in Plano and fully support heritage preservation.
I am most proud to say that I love my work. I look forward to waking up wondering what great things will happen and who I will meet. I consider myself incredibly blessed with my business success.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Being a successful entrepreneur for so long, luck has definitely played a role over the years. Luck is only second to hard work though. The hills and valleys of the food business are tremendous and if luck helps the climb then I had to work that much harder to benefit from it.
I am incredibly lucky in that I have a very supportive family and network of friends.
- Address: 1350 Manufacturing St., Suite 208, Dallas, TX 75207
- Website: pattiscoffee.com
- Phone: 9727434239
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: pattiscoffee
- Facebook: Patti’s Place Coffee & Tea @coffeeandteajunkie
- Twitter: Patti Snell
Foster Snell Photography