Shoreline’s living room: Vibrant coffee shop builds community

Thursday, March 16, 2017

One Cup Coffee at The Junction provides a warm atmosphere on a grey and rainy day.
Photo by Anran Lin

By Anran Lin

While Shoreline’s coffee business is stagnant, One Cup Coffee is flourishing by using philanthropy, a community feel, and great coffee.

Located at 16743 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline, One Cup Coffee opened in late 2014 and has been popular with locals ranging from students, to business people, and to construction workers, and City Councilmembers.

One Cup Coffee owner Christian Kar has been roasting and retailing coffees in Washington for more than two decades. Launched in 2010, the One Cup brand now runs three shops, with a fourth underway in the heart of Greenwood.

In 2014, One Cup opened its shop in Shoreline when the lead pastor of Bethany Community Church, Scott Sund, reached out to Kar. Sund believed in Kar’s community contribution ethic and his philosophy of creating neighborhood-centric coffee shops, which he thought could potentially build a “living room” setting in the Shoreline community.

“We wanted to make a positive impact on this part of Aurora Avenue,” said Sund.

Located on Aurora Avenue North among car dealerships and aging buildings, One Cup Coffee in The Junction building stands out with its bright and modern look.

Beside being known for its coffees, One Cup Coffee also sells sweet and
savory pastries purchased from local bakeries.
Photo by Anran Lin 

People have the misconception that One Cup Coffee is part of the church and that it’s a religious organization, but we are not, said Kar.

“We both just have a common mission to be involved in the community, and make a positive impact in the world.” Kar said.

Since opening, One Cup had been setting aside a portion of every sale and donating that directly to local charities providing critical services in the community.

One such example is Food4Kids – a backpack program to provide at risk youth with food for after school and weekends when they may typically have bare cupboards at home.

At the moment, Kar is revamping his local charitable programs, hoping to come up with a more impactful community service model. Kar says, “We are working to give back in other ways. We want to support the community that supports us.”

In the meantime, One Cup continues to offer its ‘suspended coffee’ program where customers can buy a cup of coffee for someone in need.

Located at a unique spot, One Cup Coffee is within a minute’s walk of Shorewood High School, Shoreline Community College, a methadone clinic and a variety of businesses. A typical day at One Cup Coffee serves clientele that range from city staff, to soccer moms and their kids, to patients from the methadone clinic. Construction companies hold early morning coffee sessions there before going on site.

The large and open space boasts a variety of tables from two person to a large wooden table that seats 10-12 people. There are seating areas with big comfortable chairs and coffee tables.

“We have all kinds of people here every day,” One Cup Coffee manager Tonia Hume said.

The majority of the clientele are long-term customers, like the Bethany Community Church, whose offices are in the back part of the building. Every Tuesday, One Cup Coffee lends a spot to the church where they set up tables out on the sidewalk to give away free coffees and donuts to community members who could really use more caring and kindness in their lives. 

The espresso bar at One Cup Coffee. Art hangs on the walls.
Photo by Anran Lin 

“The partnership with One Cup has been beautiful and we continue to believe we are called to make a difference together,” said Sund.

Huge wall murals of the Interurban Trolley that recall Shoreline’s history are not accidental.

Kar says, “Connection to history and perhaps a simpler, more relational way of life, is a hallmark of our brand. Our local coffee shops endeavor to create and enhance the sense of local community.”

When he opens a new shop, it becomes part of that community’s history. “We like to showcase that history with photos and memories.”

When it comes down to it, Kar says, “We like to say the 'world comes together over coffee'. Now there’s a nice place for that to happen right here in Shoreline.“

Special for readers of the Shoreline Area News

Mention the Shoreline Area News at One Cup between now and the end of March 2017 to receive a FREE 12oz prepared beverage + your choice of Sweetbread. One per customer - excludes blended beverages.


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