After just over two years in business, Hood River, Ore.-based Stoked Roasters + Coffeehouse is picking up some serious forward momentum, including an innovative product launch, a multipurpose mobile unit, and a burgeoning relationship with The North Face that could result in as many as six new Stoked locations inside North Face flagship stores in major cities throughout the U.S. in the coming months.
The forward movement and rapid ascent of the roasting and retail outfit should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the company or its founder, Jax Mariash Koudele.
When not exponentially growing a coffee business, Mariash Koudele also happens to be among the world’s top ultramarathoners. She’s currently working toward being the first woman in history to compete in all five of the major desert ultramarathons on five continents, and she’s not only competing, she’s winning, with an ever watchful eye on world records. For the uninitiated, ultramarathons are like marathons, except, brutally, even longer.
“Running and competing and business, for me they’re all married together,” Mariash Koudele, who launched the company with a dashing roasting facility and retail headquarters in Hood River, recently told Daily Coffee News. “It’s almost like living a whole dream altogether.”
That dream has intensified greatly in recent months, as three major projects or partnerships have come to fruition. The most high profile of those is a collaboration with North Face, where Stoked is now manning a small coffee bar in the lobby of the outdoor gear company’s San Francisco flagship.
While there are obvious parallels between the two brands — both cater to active, outdoors-loving patrons who also seek quality — Mariash Koudele said North Face also reached out to the coffee company in order to create a more enriching experience for its in-store retail shoppers. She added that Stoked is currently in conversations with North Face to add similar shops to six major North Face stores throughout the U.S., with potential opening dates coming as early as November of this year.
“When it comes to retail, folks have a lot of options for how they can purchase something,” said Mariash Koudele. “The big piece they want to add also is creating a sense of community — a place where like-minded fans could come together in a setting that inspires them to get outside.”
That last bit follows Stoked’s own branding to a T, as the company appeals to runners, climbers, bikers, campers and others while suggesting Stoked-brand coffee is going to be with them every step of the way. Following that concept, Stoked just weeks ago launched Stoked Stix, an organic instant coffee product that complements the roaster’s existing catalogue of single-origins and whole bean blends.
In yet more news, the team is particularly stoked about the recent arrival of its Stoked Mobile unit, a fully tricked out Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 van — a personal obsession of Mariash Koudele’s husband Lance Koudele — complete with a La Marzocco GS3 espresso machine, a retail display and a three-seat bar counter.
Mariash Koudele sees Stoked Mobile as having a coffee-serving presence at events such as ski resort openings, surfing competitions, bike races, or anywhere else active, competitive people congregate in the open air.
“Our brand is all about inspiring you to get outside with a really good cup of coffee,” said Mariash Koudele, adding that the fully wrapped van will also be used as a marketing vehicle, as well as a kind of mobile office, where the Stoked team can invite clients or business partners aboard for meetings over coffee. “We want to be with you wherever you go and inspire you to get out there and adventure, whatever sport that is.”
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.