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Business Profile

Wake Up Call

The large, beautiful, spaceship-like Nuova Simonelli espresso machine has been getting a workout since 4 am.

And though it’s now well into mid-morning, the cars just keep pulling into the new Wake Up Call at 5th and Freya in Spokane. Watching the procession flow steadily through the building’s large windows, Christopher Arkoosh recalls the beginning of the company.
“We started in 2004, after I graduated from Gonzaga and began a partnership with my mother-in-law,” he says, then pauses to note that — yes — people always joke with him about the perils of going into business with one’s mother-in-law. “It’s been great, though. Christi Walsh is a designer and she has English heritage, so the British phone booth concept for the brand was something she came up with. It’s definitely fun and recognizable.”

It’s also an easy way to track the growth of the company. Every time a new coffee shop in the shape of an oversized red British-style telephone box pops up, like here on 5th and Freya, coffee faithful know instantly that Wake Up has expanded. 
And while the giant red atrium at each location is an initial way to grab customers’ attention, Arkoosh believes the company’s level of customer service and the quality of its lighter-roasted coffee is what keeps people coming back.
“Back when we started, there weren’t many places emphasizing a lighter roast,” he says, but the difference to him, was always clear. “It’s like this: you can have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world and I can have the worst, but if we both burn them black, they’ll taste the same. Coffee is similar. If you roast it too heavily, you lose the nuanced flavors and aromas of your varietals.”
Twelve years later, lighter roasts are now in enough demand that even the big chains have stepped up. “Starbucks has gotten on it with their blonde roast,” Arkoosh says, “but we’ve done it since the beginning.”

With this focus on flavor and a dedication to prompt, friendly service, Wake Up Call has grown to five locations, with plans for more. Along the way, INB has been a partner, particularly with the arrangements for the 5th and Freya location. “For us to do this, INB and specifically Mike Wilson have been phenomenal to work with. He made it a smooth process; he’s always ready to go, super organized and knowledgeable,” Christopher says.
Arkoosh says they look for those sorts of local partnerships wherever they can. He believes those partnerships, along with highly capable staff and a commitment to training greatly impact the end product, and that’s the point.