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Each month, we ask our Facebook fans to nominate their favorite Utah-owned businesses and select one to feature here. This month we asked fans to tell us their favorite coffee shop. Want us to feature a business you love? Follow us at www.facebook.com/UtahBusiness and watch for the next time we ask for business recommendations.
James Kaye spent much of his childhood at his grandmother’s table, listening to his older family members discuss the world, surrounded by the smell of fresh coffee. Coffee came to mean social connection, hospitality and friendship. Those were all things he wanted to perpetuate when he opened Raw Bean Coffee in 2006—along with really good coffee, of course.
In the years since, Raw Bean, with its location on the corner of 600 South and West Temple in Salt Lake City, has become a gathering place and a welcome part of the daily routine for hundreds of people. Erin Stone, one of those who recommended Raw Bean on the Utah Business Facebook page, praised the shop for its customer service and welcoming staff. “The owner, James, is wonderful and he has an amazing team,” Stone writes. “They always make me feel welcomed and loved like Norm on ‘Cheers!’”
Janene Hoffman, another regular at Raw Bean, agrees. Whether she uses the store’s drive-through or comes inside to spend a few hours sipping coffee and working on her computer, she says the store’s nine employees always recognize her and remember what she likes to order.
Raw Bean occupies 2,500 square feet in a stand-alone building. A large room on the second floor is filled with overstuffed couches and coffee tables where a variety of groups meet, including clubs from the University of Utah and elsewhere in the community. The shop is also a frequent spot for first dates, brief business meetings and friendly hang-outs.
Kaye has worked in nearly every part of the food service industry since he was a teenager, but says he loves serving coffee the most because of the happiness it brings to his customers and employees.
“You get the chance to make people’s day,” he says. “It’s a tremendously fun experience.”
Some of the other coffee shops recommended by Utah Business Facebook fans: